Friends in Dead Places 6
Rating: PG13 (for a couple of bad words - Owen!)... However there is one NC17 chapter which will be clearly marked.
Characters/Pairings: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Toshiko Sato, Owen Harper, Gwen Cooper, Jack/Ianto, Ianto/OMC, mentions Jack/OMC
Spoilers: Small ones for Cyberwoman, Countrycide, End of Days, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Exit Wounds but nothing major!
Warnings: M/M relationships, violence, blood, Character Death, angst. Don't like any of those - don't read!
Length: apparently: 25,381 (oh dear.)
Summary: Ianto gets a lesson in dining, morality, mortality and the betrayal of friends.
Disclaimer: Torchwood belongs to RTD and the BBC, unfortunately. But if I owned them they'd have a lot more fun! This is a non-profit work of fiction and the only thing I lay claim to is the OMC and the plot (and I still have reservations on that one!)
The door to Ianto's apartment splintered under the force of Jack's boot.
"Was that necessary?" Gwen hissed, tucked up against the wall to the right, gun held out in front of her, pointing at the dull brown carpet.
Jack's glare declared that yes, actually, kicking the door in was necessary, if only because it allowed him to expel some of the violence the fear had churned up in him. Flanked by his team, his loyal fragile team, he entered Ianto's apartment. His heart was hammering, trying to beat its way out of his chest. Part of him didn't want to go into his lover's home - if he had the right to call him that. It wanted to curl up outside the door, stick his fingers in his ears, shut his eyes and hum whatever nonsensical melody that came into his head.
At the moment all he could hear was a funeral dirge and a death knell and his heart breaking.
They fanned out, Tosh and Gwen going right into the little kitchen, Owen left, checking the closet, and Jack moved forwards. He heard whispers of 'Clear' over his comm. unit and knew that the others were moving behind him, but he didn't care. Blue eyes electric sharp, jaw clenched, Jack stepped into the living room.
It had been months since he'd last seen the place, but apart from the new paint on the walls, a rich thick cream rather than the magnolia it'd had previously sported, there was no change. The flat was neat and tasteful, nothing out of place anywhere. No signs of a struggle. His Bond DVDs were still stacked neatly by the DVD player, his CDs, alphabetised and tucked behind the stereo system.
And there was a vase of fresh vase of lilies on the coffee table.
Lilies, beautiful mournful white lilies, elegant decorations for the dead. And they made Jack feel sick.
"Jack." Tosh's whisper brought him back from the crushing need he had to shatter the crystal vase and crush the petals of the delicate blooms underfoot.
He turned to look at her, posture not relaxing one fraction and stiffening up even more when he saw the shattered mobile lying forlornly on the ground.
All of them were tense now, alert and anxious and if wasn't the usual fizz of energy that came when they were hunting something down. This was more. This weighed on all of them and tangled their innards in knots. Not one of them dared breathe least it set off a chain reaction.
Owen poked around at the window, finding it shut and closed and sparklingly clean. There wasn't even a finger print on the glass. Tosh was covering the back of them, ensuring nothing caught them unawares. Gwen watched as Jack stooped to pick up the broken phone. Had Ianto been trying to call him? Call for help?
Had Webb broken in, startling and overpowering Ianto? Or had he whisked him away in the night? Jack hated to think that this tattered wreck of plastic might be all that was left of his Ianto. That the young man might be lost to the world until some godforsaken time in the future. Or that he might never be seen again. And Jack couldn't think those things, because if he did then he might as well just break down and start wailing like a lost child now. Because once he admitted to himself that Ianto might be - gone, then he'd have to admit that it was all his fault.
"Ah, you made it."
Jack turned and rose slowly to his feet. Webb was leaning against Ianto's bedroom door, trousers loose around his waist, shirt missing and hair mussed and Jack had to grit his teeth at the undeniable implications of his appearance. It was just another twist of the knife.
Another nail in Ianto's coffin.
He trained his Webley, for all the good it would do him, on the vampire. It was comfortable and familiar, solid and reassuring in his hand, and he needed that now. With courage he didn't even realise he possessed, he forced his hand not to shake and his eyes not to belie the true terror he was feeling.
"I thought that, perhaps I would have been long gone before you even got my note. Your team seem quite enamoured with that lift of yours. I didn't think anyone other than Ianto used the Tourist entrance."
Jack smiled, not his usual grin, not even a happy expression but there was no point in being hostile and threatening Webb. He didn't care.
"And speaking of Ianto, where is he?"
"Sleeping I'm afraid. Best not to wake him. I'm sure he'll join us when he's ready."
Webb moved into the room, all fluid grace and ease, as if there weren't four guns following his every move. He knew what the vampire was doing; he could smell the slight pheromones on the air, the aura of calm that was tingling at his spine. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Gwen's gun dip slightly before being hiked back up. Webb was using every dirty little weapon he had in his arsenal and they weren't ready for anything like this. He could hit them with physical and mental attacks and all they had were guns and Ianto lying either dead, dying or… different in the other room.
And Jack had no idea of what to do. He'd hoped that Webb's letter had been a threat, a shot across the bow, and that he'd turn up here and Ianto would be sleepy and ticked off that his holiday was being interrupted. He hadn't planned for finding Webb here. He hadn't thought that far ahead.
He hadn't planned for the other's to walk into this. They knew that Ianto was in trouble, but had no idea from what or how or why and Jack couldn't tell them. The words were gone from his head and the breath had been stolen from his lungs and he had nothing left to give.
Ianto was gone.
"Not gone. I told you. A gift."
Webb had gotten so close to him and he hadn't even seen the creature move. He slammed up his psi-shields before he could trespass further, and Webb merely acknowledged the belated defence with a small raise of his eyebrow.
"Who are you?" Gwen grit out, gun wavering but eyes cold and vicious.
"An old friend. I mean no harm."
"Wait just one second. You," Owen pointed at Jack, "Said Ianto was in trouble, and we drag our arses all the way over Cardiff for what? To find out that some old friend of yours or his or someone you met at a swingers party sometime is in town and is shagging the Tea-boy?" Owen dropped his gun and glared at Jack. "You brought us all the way over here because someone was playing with your toys?! What did you want us to do? Kick his arse? Toss him out on the street?"
Jack shook his head numbly. Owen's hangover and occasional grudge against Ianto were rearing their heads at the worst possible time.
Webb laughed. "You must be Owen Harper. Harper by name, harpy by nature."
"Stop it," Jack whispered, unable to bear the frivolity of introductions and light hearted banter.
"Why so sad Jack?"
The blinding flash of pure rage swept Jack up before he could even think and he lunged for Webb, tangling a hand in his shaggy hair and wrenching whilst the other locked on his throat. It wouldn't harm him, he didn't need the air, but it was the only thing he could grab as the vampire hadn't been considerate enough to dress for a manhandling.
Vaguely he could hear the alarmed shouts of the others, and feel soft hands tugging at him, but he only wanted one thing, "Why?" he hissed, mouth practically pressed against Webb's.
"Because I could," the vampire hissed back and with a burst of strength threw Jack the length of the room. "You arrogant little fool Jack Harkness! Did you think that you could come here and take me on?" Webb's eyes blazed and his fangs dropped and his face became a thing of malevolence. No longer was he attractive or desirable. He was nightmare made flesh, sculptured in to a parody of a man.
Crumpled, Jack watched as his team raised their weapons once more, realising finally that this was something beyond them. None of them fired though, and for that Jack was grateful. Webb wouldn't kill or harm them if he didn't have to, if only because they meant something to Jack.
"Didn't you read my note Jack? I thought I'd explained myself pretty well in it."
Jack shook his head, he'd read the letter. He imagined that the words were now seared into his brain. But still, he wanted to hear it from Webb's lips. He wanted the torture of them all hearing that this was his fault.
"You killed him," he whispered.
"I suppose I did," Webb's agreement was amicable enough.
"Ianto's dead?" Tosh's voice was already brimming with tears and Gwen's hand was shaking.
"For the time, yes."
Jack retched at the onslaught of guilt and grief, bile welling in his gut and he was aware of nothing but the simple thought that Ianto was dead. There was a howl of pure anguish…
And all hell broke loose.
Gwen fired, one shot, single and determined and straight to the heart. Webb had been so focused on Jack, huddled and fallen and finally feeling that he had dismissed the others in the room. He hit the carpet with a soft thud, eyes sliding shut. Owen, Tosh on his heels, raced through, over the fallen man and into Ianto's bedroom.
Gwen followed them, staggering slightly, overwhelmed at having shot someone in a moment of pure rage. She'd never done anything like it before, never felt anything like it before and hoped that she would never have to feel it ever again. It had blindsided her. One minute she had been numb with grief and shock and the idea that Ianto, sweet unassuming Ianto, was dead and the next her gun was vibrating in her hand and the man, Ianto's murderer was lying on the floor. Hole in his heart.
And she felt victorious. She was glad that he was dead.
Staring down at the ashen face she didn't realise that she had moved towards the body and it wasn't until she heard Tosh's scream from the other room that she broke through the slight trance she'd slipped into. Running she headed for the open door, but Jack beat her to it and she slammed into his back.
Ianto's room smelled of sex. And blood. The bed was rumpled and rucked and if it hadn't been for the naked bloody body in the middle of it, Jack might have been forced to comment that a good time had obviously been had by all.
He felt Gwen hit his back and then step around him. He heard her heartbreak in the little sob she gave and the whisper of her clothes as she slid down the wall. But he didn't care. There was only one place he wanted to be right now.
Slowly, limbs leaden, he moved towards the bed. Tosh was stood a little away, tears rolling down her cheeks, arms wrapped around her body, whilst Owen was kneeling over Ianto, checking desperately for a pulse. A pulse Jack knew he couldn't find.
There was too much blood. On the bed, on Ianto's neck, on his chest. And he was so pale. So young.
Sitting gently down beside him he stroked his hand over the cold cheek. He knew that Ianto wasn't going to stay like this, it was probably the only thing keeping the tears from spilling, but still. Seeing someone you know, someone you care for lying in a pool of their own blood was a horrific experience and Jack had seen it too many times.
"What did this?" whispered Tosh. Even in the depths of despair, her need to know, to understand couldn't be denied. It was how she dealt. How she worked. If everything had an answer, an explanation, then it held no fear for her.
"Me." Jack couldn't think of anything else to say and no one corrected him. "Owen, get me a wet cloth. And a clean sheet. He wouldn't have wanted you to see him like this."
He heard Owen move away and sensed Gwen stir. "Jack? What are you doing?"
"Cleaning him up. He hates being messy."
Tosh glanced at Gwen, worry clear in her grief stricken eyes. Pulling herself up, Gwen headed over to Jack just as Owen returned from the bathroom with a wet hand towel and flannel sheet, still warm from the emersion heater. Handing the items to Jack, he moved back, leaving the grieving Captain to his own devices and going to wrap a comforting arm around Tosh. She turned into his shoulder, tears leaking into his jacket, and was so very grateful for the support.
"Jack," Gwen said, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder, "Leave that. We can sort it later." She glanced up at the others, her lip trembling and fat tears sliding down her cheeks. "Lets just… let's just get him back to the Hub yeah?"
She didn't want to spend another minute in the apartment, and from the looks of it, neither did Owen or Tosh. The idea that someday soon they would have to come back and box up Ianto's life was sickening. It would mean he was really gone. But, seeing his body out on display like that, she couldn't really deny that he was.
And Jack was scaring her.
He seemed calm. He'd whirled out of his office like a hurricane and had smashed his way to Ianto's apartment, breaking speed limits and laws and Ianto's door. But now, knowing that the young man was dead, the fight had just dropped out of him. The eye was upon them, and she wanted them all safe before it passed over.
"She's right mate. We'll take him back to the Hub and clean him up there." Owen's voice was soft and for the first time, he sounded like a compassionate doctor. The kind he must have been before Torchwood, Katie and Diane turned him bitter and caustic.
"You might want to listen to them. He might not appreciate waking up here."
Gwen, Owen and Tosh, alarm in their eyes, all spun to the door. There was blood on Webb's chest but there was no sign of a bullet wound. No sign that just minutes before he'd been lying dead and bleeding out into an Axminster.
"No, 'snot possible," Owen breathed, his arms tensing around Tosh.
"And I thought you might have seen your beloved Captain come back from the dead at least once. Ianto certainly seemed to know all about it." Webb wasn't even watching them warily. They were no threat to him. Not in this broken state. "Nice shooting Miss Cooper." He nodded to the young woman, slightly relishing the horror that spread over her face. But to be fair, it was a good shot and she deserved the praise.
"What are you?" she breathed, eyes darting to the gun that had been abandoned by his foot.
It was said so simply, so understated, that they had no choice but to believe him.
"And Ianto?" Worry, more than enough to overwhelm and choke out the fear, clouded Tosh's eyes.
"Will wake up soon enough." Webb laughed brightly and reached for his shirt which was tossed over the chair near the door. "He's fed already, so he won't come round and kill you all if that's what you were thinking."
"Well I am now," Owen mumbled.
"Why did you do this?" If anything, the idea that Ianto had been turned into a vampire seemed to upset Gwen more than the idea that he'd been murdered.
"Because I had to. It was the only way I could give him to Jack."
They frowned in confusion, not privy to the history between the immortal and the vampire. But before they could question anything a laugh cut them off. Bitter and twisted it made their skin prickle and goose bump and set their teeth on edge.
"Give him to me? Give him to me? No, Webb, you haven't given him to me! You took him from me!" Jack's voice was hard and hysterical and he hadn't even turned round. He was just sitting their, softly wiping the blood and come and gore from Ianto's body.
"Don't be so dramatic," Webb snapped, doing up his buttons. "I didn't take him from you. He's still yours, always was and always will be. I just made it a little more permanent."
"No," Jack shook his head, "You took him from me."
"How do you figure that out Jack?"
Jack turned, slowly and deliberately and his team shrank away from the look in his eyes. It was angry and vengeful and alive and none of them had ever seen such a grotesque look on his face before. His usually teasing and kind eyes were red and hard and wished death one anyone brave enough to meet their stare.
"You took him," he said slowly. Even and cold voice deliberately placing each word. "You raped him. And then you stole his life."
"If that's the case, then I took from him, not from you Jack," Webb pointed out reasonably.
"No. You took from me. You took a member of my team. You took my lover and you made him just like you."
"Precisely. I made him just like me," Webb smirked and his eyes flashed light and cheerful and so very proud. "I made him immortal Jack. Almost indestructible. I took away the frailties of his humanity and replaced them with something stronger. Something better." He cocked his head and slid his hands into his pockets. "Really, you should be thanking me."
Jack hissed in a breath and his eyes blazed. If looks could cause harm, then the entire flat would have been incinerated with the angry heat pouring from Jack's gaze. His jaw clenched and he rose, towering over the bed and putting himself between Ianto and Webb. "Get out. Leave Cardiff and don't dare come back."
Webb chuckled, nodding slightly as if knowing that this would be the end result. "Don't worry my friend. I'm leaving. After all, I did what I came to do." His gaze seemed to curve round Jack to fall on Ianto, and his face softened. "Don't forget my letter. Everything I said about him was true." He fixed Jack with a warning look, one which promised a degree of retribution should his instructions be failed. "He's yours now, my gift." Webb gave an ironic chuckle at his words. "Take care of him."
And with those parting words Webb simply walked away.