Rating: PG-13, leaning towards R for some sexual references.
Characters: Ianto, Jack, Rhiannon, Tosh, Owen, Gwen, Rhys, Martha, The Doctor (10th), John Hart, The Master, Others
Spoilers: Starts beginning of TW season 1 and DW season 3
Summary: Ianto Jones has been searching for information about who he is his entire life. Canary Wharf gave him some answers and a whole new set of questions.
Disclaimer: BBC drew them, I just like to color outside their lines.
A/N: Since there was such a strong reaction to the cliffhanger in the last chapter, I am posting the final chapter early. Thanks again for embracing this, my first Torchwood Fic. Epilogue will be tomorrow.
Many thanks to the fabulous sparking_off for beta-ing. Any mistakes left are all mine. Reviews are always great! Thanks for reading!
“Where is my brother?” Rhiannon asked, tightening her grip on Jack’s arm. But Jack didn’t respond. He was still staring into the space where Ianto had been. “Jack? Where is Ianto?” she tried again. When Jack remained unresponsive, she huffed in frustration, and slapped him across the face. “Snap out of it Harkness!” she said shaking him. “I want to know where the hell my brother is and I want to know now!” Jack blinked, focusing his vacant gaze on the frustrated woman in front of him.
“He’s gone Rhia,” he said quietly, rubbing the coin in his left hand between his fingers.
“What do you mean gone?” she asked, hands on her hips.
“He used the vortex to save you. The TARDISes tried to shield him but…” Jack trailed off, not wanting to admit to her that Ianto had not been strong enough to stop the vortex from taking him when he tried to channel its power.
“But Tad is still here isn’t he?” she asked, looking toward the red phone box in the corner. “And the other TARDIS is as well. Can’t one of them fix it?”
“I-I don’t know,” Jack stammered, not daring to hope that they somehow could bring Ianto back.
“Well then, only one way to find out,” she replied grabbing his hand and leading him to the red phone box in the corner. As they passed Rhys and Denjiro, the Aderyn nodded to the two of them, silently thanking Jack for his part in this, before turning to the Doctor to deal with their own problem: what to do with the Master. Pia and Sparky marched the Time Lord to stand before their newly freed Brennin, and the Master turned an insolent smile to the man he had held in stasis for over a year.
“I suppose you’ve had enough time sleeping on this decision,” the Master mocked. “What’s it to be then? Execution? Exile? Death by vortex?”
“No,” interjected the Doctor before Rhys could speak. “Killing you is not the solution.”
“You expect me to let this madman go free? After all he’s done?” demanded Rhys, arms crossed as he stared down the Doctor.
“Hardly,” the Doctor replied. “But he’s not your responsibility. As the only other Time Lord in existence he’s mine to deal with.”
Rhys snorted. “Time Lord justice? What are you going to do Doctor? Talk him to death? Look at the faces of those around you. Look at the Jones families, both Martha’s and Ianto’s. Look at what he did to my Gwen. Look into Jack’s eyes and tell me that letting this maniac live is even an option.”
The Doctor looked around the room, seeing the malice in the eyes of Francine Jones, the pain on the face of Gwen Cooper as she rested against Captain Hart, and the despair emanating from Jack as he stood in front of the other TARDIS, too distraught to even care what happened to the man who had caused Ianto to be taken from him. All this was because of the Master, all this was laid at his feet as reason enough for his execution. He had seen him punished once for his crimes, but this time, this time was forever, and would mean that he would truly be the last of the Time Lords.
“You’re better than him,” reasoned the Doctor. “If you do this Rhys, he wins. He finally succeeds in turning you into the weapon that he wanted the Aderyn to be.” He turned to face Rhys, pleading with him to understand. “I won’t let that happen. Not when I have a chance to stop it.”
Rhys held his gaze, scrutinizing the Doctor; looking for any deception in his words. Seeing none, he reluctantly nodded his agreement.
“You aren’t going to kill me then? Joy. So what happens now?” asked the Master, squaring his shoulders for the verdict.
“You can’t trust him,” said Rhys, glaring at the Master.
“No,” responded the Doctor. “The only safe place for him is inside the TARDIS.”
“What? So you’re just going to keep me then?” The Master sneered. “What is this? Some silly, archaic ape mating ritual, where you trap me with you so that we have to go on a date?” He laughed at the Doctor, who only gave him a look of pity in response.
“If that’s what I have to do, then yes,” the Doctor replied. “There are only two of us now. I can’t take the chance of you causing any other mischief. In time, maybe I can even help stop the drums and give you some peace.” The Master looked at the barely contained anger emanating from Rhys and decided to push him over the edge.
“The only piece I want is a little more of Miss Cooper,” he leered. Rhys was on him in an instant, eyes flashing in anger and rock coated fist raised to strike him.
“Go on. Do it!” the Master encouraged him. Rhys’ fist cocked back to strike, but Gwen came forward and held onto it, stopping him. Rhys turned in surprise to see her shaking her head, putting herself between them.
“He’s not worth your soul,” she said quietly, watching the rock crumble from Rhys’ hand as he reached to cup the back of her head, pulling her to him. He sighed and kissed her forehead before turning his gaze back to the Master.
“Get him out of my sight,” he growled, gesturing for him to be escorted to the Doctor’s custody onboard the TARDIS.
“Can’t I please say goodbye?” asked a small child-like voice. Rhys turned to see Lucy standing at the foot of the stairs, twisting her hands in front of her as if afraid he would say no. Knowing how fragile her mind had been even before the Master got to her, Rhys gave consent to her request, hoping it would give her closure enough to move on.
“My faithful companion,” said the Master, as he was brought to stand before her. Lucy smiled back at him, putting her arms around his neck.
“I’ll always love you Harry,” she said sadly, “even if you never really loved me.” The Master looked at her fondly as she leaned in to kiss him goodbye. She deepened the kiss until the Master started to squirm in her arms. Lucy held on tight, kissing him harder, as her body burst into flames. Finally she let him go, watching as he stumbled back, coughing up smoke.
“What have you done?” he demanded, trying to catch his breath.
“Just a little goodbye present dearest,” she smiled. “I’m taking the burden out of their hands. After all, a good wife knows what’s best for her husband.” The flames surrounding her grew red hot and blowing the Master one last kiss, she burnt to a pile of ash.
Burning from the inside out, the Master staggered and fell. The Doctor, who had watched in growing horror as Lucy said her goodbyes, ran to his side.
“I’ve got you,” he said, easing him to the floor.
“Always the women,” groaned the Master. “Why can’t it be a Dalmatian, or an Abraxi, something less ordinary for once.”
“Try and lay still,” soothed the Doctor. “You’re not dying, it’s just incendiary combustion poisoning. It’s not radiation, you can still regenerate.”
“And give you the satisfaction of taking care of me in my dotage?” said the Master as he coughed. “No thank you.”
The Doctor felt the heat rising through the Master’s body as it burned. “You can still do it, come on please,” he begged.
The Master smiled. A real smile this time, not a leer, just a small smile of remembrance from times long past, when they were both still children, running through the red grass of Mount Perdition, before the drums, before the wars, before they were anything other then friends.
“I refuse,” he said softly, face covered in sweat as the heat reached his flesh.
“But you can’t!” shouted the Doctor. “We’re the only two left. Don’t be stubborn.” He shook the Master, trying to shake some sense into him. “Come on. It can’t end like this, there’s no one else. Regenerate!”
The Master reached up and caught the tear rolling down the Doctor’s cheek, wincing as it turned to steam at his touch. “How about that,” he said with a smile. “I finally escape the drums, and the curse of disappointing you.” The Doctor shook his head, still disbelieving. “I win. Look after what’s left of my family old friend.” He smiled up at the Doctor one final time before closing his eyes. The fire inside of him burned on; blackness coated his skin, and his body collapsed in upon itself until only ash remained. The Doctor sat on the floor stunned, as what was left of his one-time friend and lifelong adversary slipped through his fingers. Martha helped the Doctor to his feet, looking towards the TARDIS where the rest of her family was waiting.
“Come on Doctor,” she said, coaxing him up. “There are still people that need our help.” The Doctor wiped his eyes and stood, facing away from the others as he composed himself. Once he had finished, he turned to Rhys.
“He could have been saved,” he said, clenching his jaw in anger. The Brennin of the Aderyn regarded him in pity.
“Perhaps Doctor, but now we will never know,” he replied, resting his hand on his shoulder a moment, before turning away from him to gather his people and find a way home. Before the Doctor could respond and make matters worse, Martha stepped in front of him, shaking her head and leading him to the TARDIS.
“Now that that’s sorted,” said Rhiannon. “I still want to get some answers.” Turning on her heel, she started banging on the door of the red phone box that housed her father.
“Open up Tad!” she shouted. “I know you’re in there! Jack’s a mess and I want some answers.” When the doors remained firmly shut, she held out a ball of ice, ready to threaten her father with whatever she could. “You have exactly three seconds to open this door, or I will personally freeze all of your circuits so that you can’t dematerialize for a decade. One, two, th-“ Her countdown stopped as the door swung open. Rhiannon smiled and the ball of ice dissolved. “Come along then Jack,” she said, pulling the catatonic Captain in with her. “Time to make Tad see reason.”
John Hart stood off to the side while the Aderyn made ready to leave the Valiant. He tinkered with his wrist strap, hoping that now that the Master was gone, he could actually get it working and get off of this mud ball. Glancing to where Gwen Cooper was firmly ensconced in Rhys’ arms, he decided the sooner he left, the better.
‘She remembers all of it you know,’ said the TARDIS.
“I know Blue,” John whispered. “But it’s probably best I be going all the same. She needs someone noble and strong, who’ll protect her, not a scoundrel like me.”
‘I seem to recall you protecting her, and being quite noble yourself John,’ she sent back. ‘You’re not quite as heartless as you lead them all to believe.’ John smiled, still working on the strap.
“Doesn’t matter. If I can get this working again, I’ll be on my way before things get any more complicated,” he said, brow crinkling as he attempted to deactivate the bio-electrical tether blocking the temporal circuits. He was so intent on fixing it that he didn’t notice Gwen until she stood in front of him.
“You’re leaving then?” she asked, looking up at him with her large green eyes. John stared back at her, contemplating one last kiss, before glancing over her shoulder to see Rhys watching them, with a frown on his face.
“Afraid so,” he replied, adapting his scoundrel persona to make their parting easier on her.
Gwen looked down at her feet, trying to find the right words, and John realized that if he didn’t leave, she might say something that she would regret later.
‘Help me out here Blue,’ he pleaded, silently cursing himself for resorting to telepathy. ‘If I don’t leave now, this will get a lot more complicated, and she’s been through enough.’
The TARDIS laughed. ‘Noble to a fault. Take care Captain. I’ll see you again,’ she whispered as the dematerialization sequence started and she disappeared from view.
His wrist strap suddenly beeped and showed that all functions were back to normal. Overcome with joy that it was finally working again, he let out a whoop, and spun Gwen around in exaltation. When they stopped, her eyes had lost their dullness, and for the first time since Miss Cooper had been overcome, she smiled.
“I take it you got it working?” she asked. John stepped away from her and looked at his wrist, setting the coordinates for a nice quiet beach in the middle of the Quinton Nebula.
“That I did,” he said finally looking back at her. She started to say something in reply, but he held up his hand to stop her. “Time reversed. Everything is back to a year ago, none of it really happened,” he said, hoping she would understand that he was giving her an out. Instead she just reached up to kiss his cheek.
“Thank you,” she whispered, before stepping back. John swallowed, keeping himself in check, telling himself that it was better this way.
“You’re welcome,” he said with a small smile. The silence grew thick, until the sound of Rhys clearing his throat made them both jump. “Time to go,” said John, raising a hand to his wrist strap, causing a time breach to open behind him. Gwen watched as he stepped back into the light. As the portal started to close, he reached into his pocket and tossed her a small crystal. Gwen caught it and looked at it in confusion.
“In case you get yourself into trouble,” John said with a smirk. “Jack said you were too curious for your own good. It’s linked to my DNA and will send out a homing beacon if you need me.” He winked at her, and Gwen smiled in return, holding back a tear.
“Goodbye,” she whispered as he disappeared. Rhys came up beside her, and took her hand.
“We’re planning on flying out in a few love,” he said, pulling her hand up to his mouth and kissing it. “Do you want to fly with us, or wait for Owen and Tosh to come with the UNIT jet?” Gwen contemplated her answer, and decided that she needed some time to herself to process what had happened.
“If you don’t mind Rhys, I could really use some time alone; to sort my head,” she said, hoping he would understand.
“Of course,” he replied. “I’ll have Sparky wait on the tarmac for you. Just find him when you’re ready, they should be here within the next twenty minutes.” Gwen nodded absently, staring out the glass behind them to the blue and green Earth below.
One month later – Torchwood Hub
Jack stared at the ceiling, counting the cracks over his bed for the thousandth time, wishing that Ianto was here to chase away the ever present ache in his chest. It had been almost a month since Rhiannon had tried to convince her Tad to help them find him, only to be crushed when he told her that there was nothing he could do to help Ianto, as he was lost somewhere inside the vortex. He had held his daughter as she cried. Jack had watched them grieve, his eyes dry. He wouldn’t cry, he couldn’t cry, until he knew without a doubt that he would not return.
The others had managed to find some semblance of normal in the aftermath of what survivors now called ‘the year that never was’. Martha had left the Doctor, choosing to stay behind and help her family recover. She and Jack called each other once a week; checking in and reassuring each other that they were both still functioning. Trying to cope, he had thrown himself into work, taking on as many missions as possible, trying to keep his mind off of the possibility that Ianto might never find his way home.
Rhys and the Aderyn were busy rebuilding Newton House, fixing the damage that was done on that early raid, long before the Master turned it to a pile of rubble that only Rhys and Denjiro remembered. Gwen had asked him for some time to herself, and Rhys had reluctantly agreed. Owen and Tosh, blessedly exempt from remembering that hell of a year, had picked up the slack for their recovering comrade, allowing Gwen a chance to come to terms with what had happened. After staying at her mother’s for the last couple of weeks, Gwen was due back on Monday. Hopefully she had put Miss Cooper to rest, and found a way to remain Gwen Cooper once more.
Rhiannon was off seeing the universe with her family. Her Tad had insisted that the little ones needed a ‘proper education,’ and travelling through the universe provided a much needed distraction from Ianto’s disappearance. She had called Jack this morning from Anaxi 9, where they were investigating reports of a winged species that sounded a lot like their own. While a lost clutch of Aderyn on the other side of the universe would be amazing, Rhia had confided in Jack that she secretly hoped to find her brother instead.
“I dreamed about him last night,” she had told Jack. “Not words, just feelings, images. It was a jumble. I saw a coin, and a round tent; I think they’re called yurts…” Jack had tried to keep himself calm as he prodded her for anything else she remembered from the dream, but she’d been too distracted by Mica. “I saw a flash of the two of you on red sheets Captain,” she added with a smile before hanging up. “Not sure he meant for me to see that, but I think he was trying to tell me to give you a message. Hope it means something.”
Jack ran his hand over his face in frustration. It might just be a coincidence that it sounded so much like the dream he and Ianto had shared on the Valiant, and yet…He shook his head. Knowing he was not going to sleep anyway, he decided to head up the ladder and see what the rift was up to. When he got to the top, the distinctive smell of Ianto’s coffee filled his office. He reached for the mug on his desk, only to find it empty; a single golden feather beside it. Picking it up, he ran downstairs to the kitchen calling Ianto’s name. But the Hub was empty.
“Where are you?” he asked the air around him, steeling himself for the lack of reply.
‘Almost home,’ Ianto whispered his answer. ‘Not long now.’
‘How long? Please tell me you’ll be home soon,’ Jack sent back. But there was no answer.
The next few days seemed to stretch on and on; as the hours ticked by Jack would occasionally send out a mental query, but never received a response. Monday morning rolled around and Gwen returned, thinner and paler then before. Her natural brassiness was still intact, but her smile didn’t quite reach her eyes as she greeted the rest of the team. They knew what she had been through, but somehow it didn’t seem to register with them as much as it did with Jack, Rhys, and the other survivors. At mid afternoon, she made her way up to Jack’s office and shut the door.
“How do you do it?” she asked, falling into the chair opposite his desk in a heap.
“Do what Gwen?” he asked her, wondering what she was driving at.
“Go on when you know all of the things that you have done, even if they weren’t your fault, can never be erased,” she replied, not meeting his eyes. Jack sighed. How had he managed to leave the person he once was behind? Gods only knew. Ianto’s smile danced through his mind. Well, that was one reason. But not one that would help Gwen.
“Only by being who I am now, living each day, trying to be the person I want to be, not the person I once was I guess,” he answered, hands folded and thumb unconsciously rubbing the coin that was now attached to a chain on his wrist. Gwen weighed his answer and looked at the man in front of her. Dark circles rested beneath his eyes, and he looked tired. The man who had survived a year of torture intact, looked broken.
“You miss him don’t you?” she asked, not expecting an answer. Jack only stared at his wrist, refusing to look up.
“He’s coming back Gwen. You’ll see,” he responded, jaw clenching. Gwen rose and put her hand lightly over his.
“I hope you’re right Jack, I really do,” she replied. “He means a lot to you doesn’t he?”
Jack looked up, and Gwen saw his blue eyes had turned gold. “I love him Gwen. I promise you he is coming back,” he said with conviction. Gwen held his gaze a moment longer before patting his hand and walking to the door.
“I know what it’s like to have loved and lost Jack. Let me know if you want to talk, okay,” she said, giving him a small sad smile before making her way out.
“Please let him come back soon,” Jack begged the universe, hoping somehow it would help.
Far away, and very close, Ianto pulled and stretched timelines and vortex energies, tying and twisting them, hoping to find the right one to bring him back to Jack. The first one he tried led him to a settlement near an ocean, where a small boy stared at him a moment before he disappeared back into the vortex. Undaunted he tried again, only to find himself in the middle of a battlefield on some distant planet, surrounded by blue reptilian creatures with feathers protruding from the top of their heads. A battalion of soldiers ran past him, and he almost gasped when John Hart winked at him as they passed. An aircraft carrier in WWII, a space station on the edge of the Zertarn Asteroid Field, Ellis Island in the 1900’s, a pleasure craft coasting through the Xiata Nebula; the list went on. Each time he saw shades of Jack, but never the one he wanted, never the one he left.
Frustrated, he focused all the energy inside of him, searching for the energy, the spark, that had called to him back on the Valiant, the spark that meant home, the spark that meant Jack. He found it for a brief moment, long enough to leave him a small feather and a whisper of hope. Finding himself back in the vortex once more, he smiled. He had found it once, he would find it again. Clearing his mind and refocusing on the timelines, Ianto got back to work.
“Rift spike near Cathays Park,” called out Tosh, a few hours after Gwen had left Jack’s office. “The energy signature is massive, but I can’t get a reading on what came through.” Jack felt the coin on his hand grow warm, and looked over her shoulder at the screen as a second spike, this one near the docks, appeared.
“Looks like our favorite neighborhood beastie has some new friends,” Owen quipped, as a fresh batch of weevils came into view on CCTV.
“Owen: you, Tosh, and Gwen, head over to the docks and take care of our new residents,” ordered Jack. “I’ll head over to the park and see if I can find out what the first spike brought through. Everyone, keep your comms on. Let’s not take any chances. If it looks like you need backup, say something before the pretty weevil bites you, okay?” The others nodded as they geared up.
“Be careful,” Tosh called as Jack hopped onto the lift. Jack winked at her as he ascended.
Cathays Park was quiet. It had just gone eight in the evening, and the street lamps had come on for the night. Jack used his wrist strap to track the spike, and was only mildly surprised when it brought him to the Welsh National War Memorial. He stared at the man standing in front of it, hoping what he was seeing was real.
“You know, I never understood why Pegram decided that he had to sculpt the bits on that thing so bloody small,” Ianto remarked, tilting his head to the side and squinting up at the statue on the top. “I mean seriously, a bloke could get a real complex having his pigyn on display for prosperity at one-third its size.”
Jack stepped closer, hands shaking as he reached to touch him. “You’re real,” he whispered, as they met Ianto’s shoulder.
“Of course I am,” Ianto replied with a smile. Turning towards Jack, he reached out and cupped his face, pulling him in for a kiss. “Sorry it took so long,” he whispered against his lips. Jack crushed Ianto to him, holding him as tight as possible, afraid to let go.
“Gods, I missed you,” Jack whispered into his hair, and kissed his cheek. He released him slightly, holding Ianto out at arms’ length. “Don’t ever do that again,” he said, choking back the tears that threatened to fall. “I thought I had lost you, I thought-“
“I’m here now,” Ianto interrupted him. “And I don’t have any plans to leave again anytime soon.” He caressed Jack’s cheek and kissed away the tears that Jack had been unable to stop. “Not without you, anyway,” he promised. Jack kissed him again and leaned into him, pressing their foreheads together with a sigh.
“Not that this isn’t touching, tea-boy,” came Owen’s voice over the comm. in Jack’s ear. “But some of us are rounding up weevils and want to keep our lunch down.” Ianto chuckled, and Jack smiled.
“Jack, we have it handled on this end,” said Tosh. “Why don’t you two catch up, we’ll see you in a few days.” Jack looked at his hand where Ianto was stroking the coin on his wrist.
‘You kept it,’ Ianto sent in wonder, seeing the worn spot on the coin where Jack had rubbed it like a worry stone.
‘Of course,’ Jack replied. ‘Kept me connected to you somehow, it got warm when you came through.’ Ianto looked thoughtfully at the coin. Definitely something he would look into later.
“Jack, we mean it. Don’t either one of you even try to come in before Friday,” ordered Gwen, in her best PC Cooper voice. “And Ianto, welcome back.”
“Alright team, we get the message. Only call us if the world is ending and you can’t fix it,” said Jack. Ianto added his thanks and they signed off.
“So,” smirked Ianto, unfurling his wings and pulling Jack close. “Fancy flying home?” Jack just grinned.
“Fly me wherever you want, I seem to remember a promise of mid-air-sex acrobatics,” Jack leered.
“Acrobatics come later,” Ianto replied, rolling his eyes. He leaned forward and kissed Jack deeply before whispering against his lips. “I want to see you come undone beneath me, with my wings above us, unfurled and shaking, as we make up for each and every minute we’ve been apart.” Gold met gold, and the two immortal beings smiled at each other.
“Take me home, Ianto,” Jack whispered, kissing him again. Unlike the freefall launch of their last outing, this take off was seamless. When they broke apart to catch their breath, they were already in mid-air, soaring over the rooftops of Cardiff towards Llandelio, and Ianto’s little cottage near the river Tywi.
By the end of the evening, Ianto’s mental list of ‘things to do in bed with Jack,’ had quite a few items crossed off and a few more added, including notations such as ‘best when not near trees,’ ‘updraft provides more thrust,’ and ‘definitely requires repeated attempts to make sure all angles work :-D’.