Prompt/Inspiration: D.E.B.S. (2004)
Characters: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Rhys Williams, Toshiko Sato, Yvonne Hartman, John Hart, Lisa Hallett
Summary: There is a secret test hidden within university entrance exams. This test doesn’t measure a student’s aptitude at reading, writing, and arithmetic; it measures their innate ability to lie, cheat, fight, and kill. Those with high scores are recruited into the world's top secret paramilitary academies, with only the best being chosen for Torchwood. Some call them scoundrels and seductresses; some call them spies, the naive call them innocent. They call themselves T.I.E.S.
A/N: Sorry this is a little late. Real life and stroppy internet connections thwarted my posting attempts.
Random Dock on the Thames
The following week – 13:50
Alpha Squad hung from their customary place in the rafters waiting for the right moment to swing down and capture the Blowfish below them dealing Elation; the latest hybrid hallucinogenic drug that had all the power of LSD, but an additional side effect of turning users into breeding grounds for alien spore. Ianto had been conspicuously left to the far rafter away from the rest of the group.
As they waited, Lisa dropped down from overhead; never far behind them these days after Hartman had assigned Delta Squad to ensure that Ianto and the Alpha’s toed the line.
“Hey,” she said as she landed beside him. “I just wanted to check that we were still going to Endgame on Saturday.”
“Sure,” Ianto replied numbly.
“I still love you,” she said pecking his cheek. “Besides that whole gay thing is kind a hot,” she added with a leer. “See you Saturday, babe.”
Ianto suppressed a shudder as she left. He hadn’t felt a thing when Lisa touched him. It was as if what he had felt with her never existed. But in the back of his mind he was screaming at himself that the real reason he was so miserable was because he missed Jack.
“You did the right thing,” Suzie said as she and the others swung over to join her.
Ianto just nodded, glancing down to where the money had exchanged hands. “Shall we?” he asked the others, keeping his mask of indifference firmly in place.
As Alpha Squad descended to do what they did best, Ianto just went through the motions.
His heart was no longer in it.
Later that night as he was preparing for bed, he caught the whiff of a familiar aftershave floating in through his window.
“You security needs work,” Jack smirked leaning against the window frame.
“You can’t be here,” Ianto whispered as Jack came closer.
“I know. It’s this little game we play,” Jack replied. “You say you can’t see me, I get in anyway…” he trailed off.
“Is it your friends?” he asked when Ianto remained silent. “Should I talk to them, explain what I’m doing and how I’m not really that evil?”
“I’m warning you,” Ianto said stepping closer to the security alarm.
“Seriously?” Jack asked in disbelief as Ianto pushed the alarm.
“You need to go,” Ianto ordered, trying to reign in how much he didn’t want him to leave.
“I thought you loved me?” said Jack. “Why don’t you do something for you instead of what everyone else wants for a change?”
Before Ianto could answer the rest of Alpha Squad rushed into the room guns blazing, and Jack jumped out the window to escape.
Suzie ran over and looked out, but Jack was nowhere to be seen.
Gwen screamed as an arrow sailed through the window and landed in front of her, a pair of diamond handcuffs; a gift that Ianto had bought for Jack in Paris, dangling from the tip.
“I thought you were different,” Jack yelled before disappearing into the night.
Ianto ran a hand over his face as Tosh put an arm around him.
“You did the right thing,” Suzie said as she shut the window, stopping to pat Ianto on the arm before she went downstairs to reset the alarm.
“Are these real?” Gwen asked staring at the cuffs until Ianto swiped them off the arrow and threw them in his drawer. “Geesh, touchy much,” she complained before leaving.
“Are you alright?” Tosh asked quietly.
“No Tosh, I’m not,” he whispered in reply. “But I will be.”
Diamond Jack’s New Lair – Hidden alongside Big Ben
Owen came up to the central command deck of the spaceship that Jack had parked beside Big Ben and saw him fiddling with the transducer cannon.
“Whatcha doing?” he asked in concern.
“Australia is toast,” Jack replied, obviously upset.
“What’s your grief with the Australians?” Owen asked.
“I don’t like their attitude,” Jack replied, starting the firing sequence.
“Okay that’s enough,” Owen answered pulling out the crystal that powered the cannon with a flourish. “Now sit your arse down and tell me what the hell is going on.”
Jack flopped into the captain’s chair and had the ship’s computer replicate both him and Owen a drink.
“I don’t know how this happened to me, Owen,” he said staring into space. “But being bad doesn’t really feel all that good anymore.”
Owen took a long sip of his drink and turned to face him. “Do you love him?” he asked. Jack nodded. “You’re ready to give up all this, a life of crime, everything?” he asked wanting to make sure.
“Whatever it takes,” Jack answered.
“All right then,” Owen replied downing the rest of his drink and standing up. “We’re going in.”
“What?” Jack asked confused.
“We’re going legit,” Owen clarified. “We got's to get him back.”
Over the course of the next several days, Jack returned paintings, priceless artifacts, trinkets, Arcadian diamonds, and other items he had stolen, and the entire universe was atwitter at the fact that Diamond Jack had decided to end his career as a master criminal.
He even went so far as to have a sky writer put love messages in the air letting Ianto know that he loved him, and wanted him back, and sent him a bomb that exploded in confetti and fireworks that spelled out J&I within a heart.
But Ianto kept his visage calm and didn’t bat an eye at his antics. He had made a decision, and even though his heart was breaking, he would stick to the scheme that Hartman and Suzie had set for him. He owed his friends that much.
Tosh and Owen were checking in with each other, but neither knew quite what to do. Owen said that Jack was about to give up, and but when Tosh showed him the image she had saved of Ianto doodling pictures of Jack in his sketchbook, Owen decided there was only one thing left to do.
Time to enact plan B.
He only hoped that Ianto would understand just how much Jack was doing for him once this was over.
The evening of Endgame finally arrived. This year the event was being hosted in London by Torchwood, and of the university based programmes for Torchwood, U.N.I.T., the C.I.A., the F.B.I., and the rest of the espionage community were attending to celebrate the achievements of their graduating classes.
Concerned about his charges and with so much at stake, Commander Rhys Williams decided to check in on his most troubled student, one Ianto Jones.
After beaming into Alpha Squad House, he knocked on Ianto’s door and saw him laying out his tux for the evening.
“How are you, Ianto?” Williams asked, noticing that the young man seemed even paler than normal.
“Alright I guess,” Ianto replied not meeting his gaze.
“You know if there is one thing I have found in this business,” he started hoping to get his attention. “It’s that there isn’t much room for love,” he said, watching as Ianto continued to fuss with his formal attire. “Love requires trust, and trust requires honesty, something spies can’t afford.”
“Commander Williams,” said Ianto suddenly turning to face him. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course,” he replied.
“I got a perfect score on the test,” he started. Williams nodded. “But what exactly does that test measure?”
“I’m sorry?” he replied.
“Well,” Ianto pushed on, “Gwen is a sex addict, Tosh has a few shoplifting convictions for electronics stores, and Suzie is borderline psychotic. But nothing in my past indicated that I would be good as a spy,” Williams looked away as if trying to find the best way to answer the question he knew was coming. “So tell me Commander, why did I get a perfect score?”
Williams took off his glasses and met his gaze. “The test measures your ability to lie,” he said with a smile. “You are a perfect liar.”
“Oh,” said Ianto, surprised.
“Don’t get me wrong; perfect liars make perfect spies,” Williams continued. “The rest we can teach, but subterfuge; That has to come naturally.”
Ianto sat down as he tried to take what he had learned in.
“Look, have fun tonight,” he added worried he might have inadvertently added to the younger man's troubles. “You’ve had a rough time of it. Try and enjoy yourself.”
“So what next?” Jack asked as Owen showed him the blueprint for the building.
“There’s security here, here, and here,” Owen said pointing them out, “Knock out the guards here, go through the vents, rappel down the elevator shaft, and then bungee-jump down to the dance floor in the main ballroom.”
“Okay, check,” Jack answered. “Then what.”
Owen pointed to some writing on the dance floor.
“Tell him that you love him,” Jack read. “Owen that is not a plan!”
“War is easy, love is hard,” he replied. “I may be a bastard, but even I know that.”
Jack groaned and rolled up the blueprints, stuffing them into his pack.
“You better be right about this,” he scolded as he pulled out a grappling hook and a crossbow to shoot a line to the roof next door.
“Good luck,” Owen replied as Jack swung out of sight. Pulling out his binoculars he looked down to where Tosh was arriving on the arm of some Army intelligence oaf named Tommy along with the rest of Alpha Squad. Reaching for his phone he texted her that he hoped she had a good night and he was sure she looked amazing.
The smile on her face after reading it was almost made watching her with someone else tolerable; almost.
Endgame was in full swing and Suzie was going over Ianto’s speech one last time with the rest of her squad before handing it off to Ianto to read.
“My tour of duty behind enemy lines has shown me that I need to be vigilant,” Suzie started before Tosh interrupted her.
“What if he really loves him?” Tosh asked. “I mean if we were really his friends, we would let him go.”
“You can’t decide matters of the heart,” Gwen added looking off to where Commander Williams stood. “It is impossible to try.”
Angry that her squad wasn’t agreeing with her, Suzie rolled up the paper. “It’s time. I’m going to go find Ianto,” she said before making her way over to where he was trying to dance with Lisa and trying to keep her hands off his arse.
“So I wrote down a few things about our version of events and you expressing your gratitude about being honoured,” she explained to Ianto once she managed to pry him away from Lisa. “And I’m sorry that we’ve been fighting. I just want what’s best for you,” she added trying to ignore the dead look in her friend’s eyes.
“Okay,” he replied tonelessly.
“Um then, here’s the speech,” she answered handing it to him.
As Hartman went to the podium to announce Ianto as Valedictorian, Tommy, Lisa, and several other of the squad leaders were being apprised of the fact that Diamond Jack had been spotted in the building.
“Secure every entrance, every floor,” Lisa ordered as they left the dance floor. “No one is taking my man. Game over, Diamond.”
A hidden armoury was opened on the second floor and those in the know armoured up.
“Talk to me,” Lisa ordered Matthews in the security booth via the comm. on her wrist.
“We’ve got nothing,” Matthews replied.
Lisa cursed and made her way down the hallway, stopping when she heard a thump in the ceiling above her.
Directly overhead, Jack heard the sound of the comm. on her wrist beep and held still. Realizing that he had been found out, Jack tossed a handful of diamonds ahead of him, watching grimly as a series of gunshots punctured the vent exactly where they had fallen.
Making an about-face, he scrambled down a side vent, falling through the ceiling and making his way down the hallway, grinning as he entered the ballroom and saw Ianto at the podium making a speech of some kind.
“If there is corruption on this planet, Diamond Jack is behind it,” Ianto said causing Jack to stop in his tracks.
“If there is indecency to be found, he is the root. If there is evil in this world than it must be Diamond Jack Harkness.”
Jack stepped back stunned, not realizing that Lisa had followed him, and was watching with satisfaction as Ianto’s words tore through Jack like bullets, confirming that he didn’t truly love him.
“It’s not until moments like this, when you are forced to take stock of yourself that you realise what you are truly made of,” he continued. “It’s moments like this when you discover what is right and true. Because it’s moments like this that you discover what it truly means to be a part of T.I.E.S..”
Hartman and Suzie smiled in satisfaction. Ianto had done as directed. All was well.
At that moment, Ianto looked up and saw Jack looking down at him.
As their eyes met across the ballroom, everything seemed to stop. Jack smiled and Ianto looked down at Tosh, and saw her nod, somehow guessing what he was about to do.
“Which is why I can’t accept this award tonight,” Ianto continued drawing gasps from the crowd. “Because the truth is, the time I spent with Diamond Jack Harkness was the happiest of my life. And the only brave thing I have done this whole time, is what I am doing right now,” he said smiling up at Jack. “So if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a very handsome devil,” he ended before leaving the stage.
“Was that in the speech?” demanded Hartman.
“No that was definitely not in the speech,” Suzie answered as Ianto ran past.
As Ianto ran out the side door, Jack turned to meet him, but found Lisa barring his way.
“You don’t get to have him,” Lisa growled cocking her gun.
“I don’t think so,” Jack answered kicking it from her hands and knocking her to the floor.
“Hostile has escaped and is on the run to sector twelve,” Lisa said over her comm. as she struggled to stand.
Jack ran to the nearest elevator and checked the map for a clean way out. As he did, one of the junior agents saw him and freaked out.
“It’s Diamond Jack!” he screamed running into the ballroom. “He’s here! Run for your lives!!”
Panic broke out. Immediately knowing the source, Alpha Squad pulled their guns out of their purses and chased after Ianto.
Ianto and Jack both ran through the building amidst the throng of agents until each of them found their way to the basement of the building, both running down the aisles of boxes until they collided with each other once more.
“I’m starting to think you’re doing this on purpose,” Jack said with a grin as they both came up, guns drawn.
“I’m so sorry,” Ianto pleaded lowering his gun. “I didn’t even know what I-“
Jack stopped him with a kiss before he could finish his sentence; happy to have his Welshman in his arms once more.
“Step away from him,” Suzie ordered beside them.
“Suzie-“ Ianto started.
“Freeze!” Owen snarled behind Suzie, holding a gun to her head.
“Snark!” Jack hissed using his codename though he knew that Tosh knew his real name by now. “Not helping.”
“Sorry,” he answered, lowering his gun and stepping back.
“Can’t you see he’s breaking up Alpha Squad?” Suzie demanded keeping her gun trained on Jack.
“What did I tell you when I first met you?” Ianto asked Suzie.
“Showing your thong makes you a slut,” Suzie replied.
“Hey!” Gwen protested.
“After that,” Ianto clarified ignoring Gwen.
“We’ll always be friends,” Suzie answered.
“And I meant it,” Ianto replied.
Suzie cocked her gun and aimed it at Jack. “You break his heart. We’ll hunt you down and kill you.”
“Understood,” he answered.
“I’m counting on you to keep him honest,” Suzie said to Ianto as she lowered her gun.
“I will,” he replied.
The sound of someone banging on the door and Hartman yelling could be heard coming from the entrance announcing that time was up.
“You better go,” Tosh said, stepping forward to hug Ianto. “You’ll always be my best friend. Stay in touch.”
“I promise,” he answered.
“I never really liked you,” said Gwen as she hugged him. “But I’m sorry to see you go.”
“Tell Rhys to use the door instead of the window,” Ianto answered watching with satisfaction as Gwen gaped like a fish that her affair with Commander Williams was out in the open.
“Rule the school,” Ianto said turning to hug Suzie.
“I always do,” she replied. “Service entrance is on the right," she added as she stepped back and watched Ianto and Jack clasp hands. "Good luck.”
As they ran down to the right, Lisa, Hartman and the rest arrived.
“They went that way,” Tosh said pointing them to the left.
Once they were gone, Suzie reached into her purse and pulled out a letter of recommendation and a graduation certificate.
“Don’t say I didn’t give you anything,” she said with a smile.
“I graduated? Really?” Tosh asked before hugging her in celebration.
“Okay that’s enough!” Suzie said pushing her away as Owen walked towards them.
“So I was wondering-“ he started to say.
“Yes!” Tosh interrupted.
“But I didn’t even ask yet,” Owen said confused.
“Whatever it is, yes,” she replied with a grin.
“Awesome,” he answered with a rare smile taking her by the hand.
As the four of them went outside, they looked up and saw a spaceship materialise above them alongside Big Ben.
As the ship turned to leave, Owen raised a device and flicked a switch, turning on a digital display at the rear of the ship.
"That is so cheesy," Suzie scoffed crossing her arms.
"Yeah but it's still cute," smiled Tosh as she took Owen's hand.
"He sure is," Gwen whispered as she caught the stray wink Rhys sent her way before turning back to deal with an irate Hartman.
As for Jack and Ianto? They were too busy making up for lost time to notice.