Characters: Jack, Ianto, Gwen, Owen, Tosh, Rhys, Rhiannon
Beta: None due to time constraints - mistakes are all mine on this one
Summary: There is a secret buried within the files of Torchwood that Ianto Jones must keep hidden, one that could change everything.
A/N: Written for the jantocam June challenge. First fic I have finished in months. Liberal sprinklings of Welsh and Celtic Folklore abound. Meant to have the last two parts up last night, but livejournal wasn't cooperating. Some references to Miracle Day in the last part, but you can read without having seen it. Hope you like it.
The following Morning
Gwen held onto Rhys’ arm for support as they entered the room housing the casualties from Thames House. The guards had told them Torchwood were listed as numbers 13 and 14, and as they wove their way through the rows of red blanket-covered bodies, Gwen felt herself tremble at the thought that she and Jack were all that was left of their team. When they reached them she steeled herself and crouched down, throwing the blanket on number 13 back, to expose Jack lying beneath it. Dried tears were still visible on his cheeks, but knowing he would soon return, she patted him gently on the arm before turning to number 14.
“Are you ready luv?” Rhys asked, and at Gwen’s nod pulled back the blanket to reveal a slightly different looking Ianto Jones. “Bloody hell,” Rhys exclaimed looking at the pointed ears and green-gold shimmer covering his skin. “Has he always been fae?”
Jack gasped back to life behind them and searched around him frantically until his eyes fell on Ianto’s prone form.
“Jack, I don’t think you should-” Gwen tried to protest as Jack gently pushed her aside and reached a shaking hand towards where Ianto lay so very still.
“He was afraid to tell us,” Jack said quietly. “Owen found a case file once, locked in Ianto’s desk, from back when we were researching the Roundstone Woods,” he explained as he traced his fingers over his lover’s face. “I didn’t put it together then, but it mentioned two children found near some falls said to be protected by faeries. It must have been him and his sister." Gwen's eyes narrowed as she thought about the Mara.
"Are they chosen ones then?" She asked, her hand slipping inside her jacket to grasp the small stun gun she had managed to hide within.
"I'd say Twylyth Teg," interrupted Rhys causing Gwen to pause as she contemplated what Ianto being a member of the fair folk could mean.
"He called me a twypsyn for not knowing the term," Jack laughed as he fought back tears. "He's been hiding all this time, and there were signs, so many subtle hints, but I never noticed...” he added trailing off as he gathered Ianto into his arms.
Rhys looked on in sympathy as he watched Jack hold Ianto's still form in his arms. “I never told him, I'm such a fool,” Jack murmured in despair as he pressed a kiss into Ianto's hair.
A soft thunk sounded on the floor beside them, and Rhys bent down to pick up the acorn that had fallen from Ianto’s pocket. Jack stared at it as the words his sleep-laden brain had overheard that morning beneath the great oak whispered across his mind.
“We need to get him outside and somewhere quiet so we can plant this,” he ordered plucking the acorn from Rhys' hand.
Rhys glanced to Gwen who shook her head "no" as she pulled out the stun gun and prepared to stop Jack from doing anything rash. But as he turned back to the Captain, his look of renewed hope convinced Rhys that his plan might be worth a try.
“Right," he said reaching over to lower Gwen's arm. "I’ll get a gurney. Jack, you and Gwen wrap him back up before anyone else sees those ears,” Rhys advised as he strode towards the door. “My gran followed the old ways, and I know a place that should do the trick.”
Gwen jumped up to follow him. "What are you doing?" she hissed. "Jack's obviously delusional. We can’t-“
Rhys spun around and grabbed her by the arms. "For once in your life Gwennie, put someone else first," he chastised. "You might know all about aliens and nutters, but I was raised on tales of Ianto's people and if you don't let Jack do this, neither of us will ever forgive you."
Gwen swallowed, realizing she had pushed Rhys too far. "I'll just help Jack get him ready," she answered quietly.
Rhys searched her face for any signs of deception. Finally, satisfied that she would do as he asked, he turned to go.
"I would do the same for you," Rhys said over his shoulder as he left.
Gwen watched him leave and touched her stomach where their unborn child lay sleeping. "So would I," she whispered before squaring her shoulders and going back to help Jack.
By sunset, Rhys, Gwen, and Jack had gathered alongside a secluded cluster of trees north of Caerleon along the banks of the River Usk.
Insisting that the acorn must be planted on Welsh soil, Rhys had brought them to his Gran's old cottage nestled in the Usk River Valley. Once they arrived, he felt the familiar hum of ancient magic dancing through the air, and memories of assisting his Gran as a young boy seemed to guide his footsteps.
He had taken them to the cluster of trees that housed the offering tree where his Gran used to leave milk and honeycomb for the guardians of the nearby woods, and instructed Jack to remove any weapons or anything iron from his person before they began so as not to interfere with the magic they were trying to bring forth.
Scrambling in the dirt, Jack fought back tears of desperation as he prayed to whatever deity might be listening that this would all work and Ianto would come back. He took hope in the fact that even hours after his death, Ianto remained warm to the touch, almost as if he was waiting for someone or something to wake him up.
As the moon rose over the warm July evening, they moved Ianto alongside where Jack had planted the acorn and hoped for the best.
“It’s not working,” Gwen whispered a bit too loudly to Rhys.
“I can hear you,” Jack snapped back.
“Do you remember anything else?” Rhys asked, trying to be helpful.
Jack shook his head and sighed.
“Well maybe that’s because you were a bit too busy ogling his backside,” a weathered voice chuckled above them. The trio looked up and saw that an ancient and benevolent face now resided in the trunk of the oak tree before them.
“Mother Derwen,” Rhys whispered in awe, falling to his knees and gesturing for a gaping Gwen to do the same.
“Rhys, grandson of Dilys,” Derwen said in greeting. “I see the sins of the mother are not those of the son,” she added with a grin. Gwen snorted and the tree laughed harder. Apparently she wasn’t the only one who wasn’t overly fond of Rhys’ Mam.
“Can you help us?” Jack asked, hoping she would help.
“Only you can break the geis over the gateways and set him free,” she replied. “You have sown the seed of change, but now you must give it life,” she added kindly.
“But I don’t know how,” Jack answered.
As Rhys watched the exchange it suddenly dawned on him what was needed.
“Tell him Jack,” he said. “Show him everything you were too bloody scared to say when you had a chance.” Gwen frowned, wondering what Rhys as on about as Jack moved closer to Ianto and gently took him in his arms.
“I should have told you every day Yan,” he started, staring down at his too still face. “I’ve loved you pretty much from the start, but the bigger it grew, the more scared I became.” Leaning forward, he placed his lips against the still lips of his lover. “I want you with me always, please come back,” he whispered as he kissed him one last time.
Gwen gasped as tendrils of green and gold light began to cover the two men, leaning against a grinning Rhys in shock as she watched Ianto’s arm slowly slide up to clasp the back of Jack’s neck to deepen the kiss. When the two of them finally came up for air, Jack laughed in happiness and Ianto joined him, reveling in the magic that their love for one another had called forth.
A flash of light burst into existence near the riverbank and they quickly stood to watch as a small wooden bridge materialized to span the water, leading to a circle of light - a portal of some kind, a sun dappled glen visible on the other side.
A lone figure stood within the glen watching them. She was tall, with a dress the color of fresh spring clover and a wreath of midsummer blooms crowning her long brown hair. As she drew closer, Ianto realized who she was and ran forward to meet her before anyone could stop him.
Jack snatched up his wrist strap from the pile he had left at the edge of the clearing and slipped it back on to scan the area, his prior encounters with the Mara making him wary, even though he had an idea of who she might be.
“My son,” Eleri whispered as she gathered the man whom she had last held as a small boy into her arms. Ianto breathed in a scent he once thought lost: honeysuckle and fresh rain. Mother.
“You look like your father,” she said with a smile holding Ianto out at arm’s length. Looking over his shoulder she nodded to Mother Derwen, who winked in return before slipping out of sight.
“Your sister?” she asked not seeing her amongst the group.
“Has chosen the human path, but would love to see you once more,” Ianto replied hoping she would understand.
“Fear not un bach,” she said falling back on the endearment she had used when he was a child. “I wish only happiness for you both. I have learned Saesneg so that I might better speak with you both.”
Ianto smiled and Eleri gestured towards where Jack waited behind him. “This is your intended?” she asked as he stepped forward.
“I am,” Jack answered as he bowed and kissed her hand. “That is if you approve?”
Eleri laughed, and clasped Jack’s hand within her own. “Undying one, long have the elders spoken of the two who would join our worlds and break the geis that sealed the path between them with their love. Far be it from me to deny my son happiness with the man who has made our two worlds whole once more.”
Jack and Ianto shared a look, worried at what having the gateways between worlds being open could mean.
“Fear not dear warriors,” she said as she saw their faces. “For as the guardian of the gateways, only those who have peaceful intentions will I allow safe passage.”
While the two men relaxed, Gwen looked on in concern. This all seemed far too easy. Surely there was more to it then just opening some kind of a rift to faerie land and trusting Ianto's Mam to guard it?
“And what about Ianto?” she demanded before Rhys could stop her. “Are you just going to take him away now that the gateways are open?”
Eleri started at her tone and turned to her son. “While it is true you need training, I will not hold you to our realm,” she said solemnly. “Time moves differently there though, so I cannot guarantee how swiftly you would return,” she added glancing at Jack.
“I have just the thing,” he replied, slipping the stopwatch from his pocket and placing it in his lover’s hand.
Ianto stared down at the battered timepiece that had been so instrumental in bringing them to where they were today before glancing around at the moonlit trees surrounding them.
“Kind of reminds me of when we first met,” he said with a shy smile.”
Jack grinned. “Oh yeah, those were nice jeans,” he answered wistfully as moonlight played over Ianto's skin and gave it an unearthly glow. "I'll say it again, moonlight really does become you my Jones, Ianto Jones," he said pulling him closer and bringing Ianto's hand to his lips. "Promise me you'll come back?"
"Always," Ianto replied, huskily. "Do you promise to wait?"
Jack held his gaze and somehow the perfect words to make his vow drifted to him on the wind. "Doubt that the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move his aides, Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love thee," he whispered before sealing his vow with a kiss.
"Robin Goodfellow's playmate did have rather a way with words," Eleri observed as her son blushed. Turning away from the lovers she made her way over to where Rhys and Gwen stood.
"Well met Rhys son of the Dryw," she said as he bowed his head. "Long has your family been a friend to my kind," she continued as he held out her hand. Within it lay a walnut sized peridot; the pale green facets of the gem glittering in the starlight. "May it bring you prosperity and good fortune for all of your days," she said as she placed it in his palm. "The gateways to our world are always open to you and your kin.”
"Thank you My Lady," Rhys replied. "My wife Gwen," he added gesturing to where she stood beside him.
She turned to regard Gwen with ancient eyes, and Gwen tried not to flinch as the woman seemed to look into her very her soul. She had felt the same scrutiny from Ianto before, as if he had found some great flaw within her that could not be mended.
"Heed my warning, Gwen Elizabeth Cooper Williams," Eleri said as she held her gaze. "Long have I watched from Annwn as you turned a blind eye on the magic of the world, choosing to tear apart the weave and the weft of truth and reshape it to meet your goals." When she paused, Gwen looked over her shoulder and saw Jack and Ianto watching silently, neither of them coming to her defense, and Gwen felt a sudden chill as she realized that Eleri might be right.
"If you do not change your path," she continued. "The child you carry, and her father will be taken from your side by those who would keep them safe." A soft tittering of laughter echoed through the trees and Gwen shivered.
The cluster of silver bells adorning the offering tree jingled on the wind and Eleri turned away to rejoin her son. "The hour draws late, and we must away, there is much to learn before you return," she said patting his arm and before smiling at Jack. "Take heart son of Boeshane, you will see my son again."
“If you have need of me before I return, place this in the moonlight and before the moon hath taken flight, I will be at your side,” Ianto promised as he handled Jack a single red rose.
“I will,” Jack promised pulling him in for one last kiss.
Ianto drew back and kissed Jack’s forehead once, renewing the spell of protection he had placed on his beloved before crossing the bridge to join his mother. The two of them turned to raise a hand in farewell, and with a flash of light, they were gone.
“There is no way to stop it Captain Harkness,” The Mother smirked as she took in Jack’s battered appearance. We captured your CIA friend before he could reach our Buenos Aires stronghold. Your plan has failed."
Jack backed up to railing and reached into his pocket, pulling forth a deep red rose, lush and full in its bloom.
“A rose?” she laughed as he held it up to the strand of moonlight shining down through the ceiling. “I assure you that flirting with me will get you no where.”
Jack smiled as the room grew unnaturally still. “Why would I flirt with you, when I have someone like him?” he answered as burst of light erupted at his side, spewing forth a dozen Twylyth Teg, led by a very familiar man dressed in armor of green and gold.
Ianto held aloft his sword and a host of Ellylldan twisted into being, cackling in glee as they attacked the mercenaries working for The Families and drug them away.
The Twylyth Teg moved into position to put an end to the so called blessing that encased the last repository of the Dark One’s magic. Forming a semi circle around the tunnel that housed it, they collectively raised their arms and called a storm into being over both ends of the planet, creating a maelstrom that filled the tunnel from Shanghai to Buenos Aires with a spectacular array of wind, lightning, and hail that battered against the cancerous growth until it crumpled to dust and the Earth rushed in to heal the void, making herself whole once more.
As the winds receded, Ianto held out a hand and the portal they had used reopened to allow their brethren who had been on the other side of the tunnel in Buenos Aires to step through.
As the gathering of Twylyth Teg clasped arms in greeting, the remaining Ellylldan shrieked and unleashed their rose laden fury on both The Mother and Oswald Danes for harming their chosen ones. Despite having previous misgivings about their methods, Jack found himself oddly content that somehow justice had been served.
Satisfied that all was peaceful for now, Ianto turned to Jack. “You called?” he said raising an eyebrow. Jack laughed and embraced him, feeling his heart swell as he held his beloved once more.
“What’s with Legolas and his Merry Men?” Rex asked as he stepped forward with Gwen in tow. "Is that portal thing we used even safe?" he added with a scowl.
“Rex, this is Ianto,” Jack explained as he released him. “He’s my, well, my everything.” Jack said with a smile.
Rex rolled his eyes. “So what now?” he asked, wondering what Torchwood would do now that Miracle Day was over.
“Now I go home,” Jack said turning back to grab Ianto’s hand.
“Are you sure?” Ianto asked, not knowing if Jack could really give everything up to return with him.
“I’m not letting you leave without me again,” he answered as Ianto smiled. “Besides, it we can always come back later,” he added with a grin. “We have all the time in the world now.”
“That we do,” Ianto acknowledged as he leaned forward to kiss him.
Turning to the others he called out an order and the group assembled behind him. Ianto held his hand aloft and reopened the gateway, this time to a meadow alongside a gentle stream with the spires of a magnificent castle in the distance. Dragons could be seen flitting through the clouds and a herd of wild horses basked in the midday sun. The group of Twylyth Teg went first with Ianto and Jack bringing up the rear.
“Torchwood is yours,” Jack said as he tossed a jump drive in Gwen’s direction.
Gwen caught it and stared at it for a moment before realizing that Jack was really leaving.
“You planned this didn’t you?” she accused as they stepped through to the other side.
“Ever since Ianto left,” Jack replied. “Torchwood is dead Gwen. That file is all that’s left,” he added before she could protest further.
“Give my love to Rhys,” Ianto added with a wave as the portal closed.
Later as the two of them lay nestled in a bower high in the treetops of the ancient forest beside the castle, he asked Jack what was on it.
“The Jack-eraser,” Jack replied with a grin. “It’s a specialty virus Tosh cooked up that erases all trace of me in any known systems on the planet and eradicates all known Torchwood data files, housing them in a single repository back at Torchwood House under Archie’s protection. Since the mainframe was active before I left, I figured it was time to test it. Maybe if Gwen can’t access the files, she might think twice and put Rhys and the baby first.”
Ianto laughed. “Ah Tosh, she was brilliant wasn’t she?” he said wistfully.
“Just like you,” Jack said as he kissed his way up Ianto’s chin to nibble on his ear.
“Stop it!” Ianto giggled batting him away. “I told you they were ticklish.”
“What about here?” Jack whispered, kissing his way down his lover’s neck. “Or here?” he added as his hand wandered down his body, tracing patterns of love against his delectable moon-kissed skin.
Ianto growled and flipped Jack over until they had changed places, giving him only a brief glance at the flame of wild magic dancing in his eyes before pleasure consumed them both. As Jack fell asleep surrounded by the kaleidoscope of flora and fauna that now decorated their bower, he sighed in contentment. He was home at last.
geis - curse or obligation
Un Bach - Little One
Saesneg - English Language
dryw - druid/seer
Annwn - The Realm of Faerie