Characters/Pairing: Jack/Ianto/OFC, Gwen, Owen, Tosh
Rating/Warning: NC17 (will possibly change) / Explicit violence/sex, angst, action, m/m, m/f/m, character death
Disclaimer: So not mine. No really, they're not. All things Torchwood belong to RTD and the BBC, I'm just borrowing them.
Summary: Life is precious. The mind is delicate. When both of these hang by very thin threads, someone needs to take that final step and look over the edge. Unfortunately, Ianto Jones is about to be dragged right along with it.
Pinned to his back, fighting desperately to keep it at bay, he cried out as it's claws gouged across his stomach. His cry turned to a scream when his strength gave out and the creature on top of him managed to press forwards, sinking it's razor sharp teeth into his left shoulder. The agony was unbelievable, swarming his body with red hot blazing pain. A quick jab to its throat from him had the creature rearing up ever so slightly, just enough to make it loose its grip on his shoulder.
With blood and saliva dripping down onto his face, deadly teeth trying to snap back at him and claws scraping at his chest and arms through his clothes, Ianto Jones knew he was facing his possible death. Even if it was in the form of an enraged Weevil. He wasn't surprised that his life flashed before him as he squeezed his eyes shut. Time in his Dad's tailors shop. His time at Torchwood One. Lisa. Torchwood Three. Jack.
Oh God, Jack. He'd never get to see him again. Never feel the touch of Jack's lips against his own as they kissed. Never experience the gentle caress that the Captain held back just for him during the nights alone. He'd never get to hear stories that sounded so extraordinary that they actually had the chance of being true. Worst of all though, is that Ianto knew that if he died tonight, here and now, he'd never be able to tell Jack how much he cared about him. How much he loved him.
The sudden loss of weight pressing him down had Ianto opening his eyes. Struggling to push himself up against one of the walls of they alley he was in, he couldn't stop himself from crying out with the pain that raged from his wounds. Looking about wildly, he spotted the body of the Weevil that had managed to corner him. It lay near the very corner of the dead end alley and from the angle of its head, Ianto thought that it's neck may have been broken.
Movement from his right had him turning his head, his good hand searching for a gun long forgotten in his struggle to live. He only had a moment to register the thing in front of him before he found himself facing his possible death for the second time that night. When nothing happened though, he dared to look closer at what was crouched down in front of him.
Black knee high boots with a sturdy three inch block heel on each boot. Tight black trousers that he though could've been made of something similar to leather. A tight black vest that looked like it was made of the same material as the trousers. It fit snugly against the slim waist and what he realised was a pair of firm breasts. That was the moment he realised that the thing in front of him wasn't a creature, it was a person. A woman. Ianto looked up sharply, hissing a little as pain from his shoulder shot into his neck.
The small sound that he hadn't been able to control seemed to spur the woman on though. Instead of simply looking at him, she pulled a bag from where it had hung over her back. Ianto had been so preoccupied with not dying that he hadn't even noticed it. Now, as she dug through the bag, Ianto looked up to see if he knew this woman.
Ianto was disappointed to see that the lower half of her face was hidden behind a large black scarf. The material was wrapped around a couple of times before both ends hung down over shoulders that were bare. A long thick auburn braid of hair hung over her left shoulder, the tip of it brushing against his useless right hand with the softness of a feather made from silk. On her right arm though, just beneath the shoulder joint he spotted a strange tattoo. It was made up of what he thought might be a rose with swirling black leaves. The tips of the very two bottom leaves looked to be joined to hat he thought might have been something similar to an Egyptian Scarab jewel, the jewel itself the colour of the richest emerald he'd ever seen.
Ianto tried not to flinch when she brought something that looked like a small knife from the bag, but he couldn't stop the small sound of fear that escaped his lips when she raised it towards his already injured shoulder. He realised she must've heard him when she paused, then lowered her hand that held the blade. He looked up at her to get a proper look at her face. What he could see was cream coloured skin, soft cheek bones, smooth winged auburn eyebrows with strands of auburn hair that fell over a brow that held a worried frown.
It was her eyes though that held him still. She wasn't touching him, she didn't need to. Long thick black lashes framed emerald eyes that Ianto would've said were the same as Gwen's except for the colour. Where Gewn's eyes were dark, these were light and warm and so welcoming that he felt he could just sink into them and wouldn't care how long they held him for. When she blinked, Ianto had to shake his head a little, sure that his wounds and blood loss were affecting his ability to think.
Before Ianto could register what had happened, he felt a slight pressure against his injured shoulder then heard the sound of ripping material. He turned his head to see her pulling apart his jacket sleeve and then his burgundy shirt to get to his wound. A part of him mourned the loss of the expensive suit while another part of him tried very hard not to move lest he should be the next thing that she decided to rip apart.
He watched warily as the woman in front of him dropped the small knife back into her bag and pulled out something that Ianto thought he recognised. It looked like the small hand held regenerator that Owen sometimes used back at the hub. After a few moments of what he realised was the humming from the small machine as it scanned first his shoulder then his stomach, he saw her nod in what he took for satisfaction.
A press of a button and a soft yellow light was being held over his stomach wound. A wound that Ianto could feel patching itself up even as he sat there staring at the woman in front of him. It wasn't until the soft light was shining on his shoulder that he realised the wounds on his stomach were healed. Glancing down, he saw nothing but smooth, unmarred skin.
From his Bluetooth ear piece he could hear Jack talking to him, asking where he was. Ianto remembered then that he'd been Weevil hunting with Jack. They'd had to split up when they'd lost sight of the Weevil, which had led Ianto into being cornered by the alien that had managed to double back and trap him in the alley. Ianto had thought that tonight was the night that he would die. Instead, tonight was the night he'd met his guardian angel, so he'd like to have thought.
At Jack's shouted demand for an answer, a demand that could well have deafened him, Ianto took a deep a breath as he dared before speaking.
“I'm fine Jack,” he told his lover, unable to keep a slight waver from his voice as a particularly savaged part of his shoulder began to heal, sending nausea rolling through his gut. “The Weevil's down. Broken neck I think.”
He gasped as pins and needles heralded the return of blood flow to his right hand, telling him that his shoulder had finished healing. The woman looked at him and Ianto didn't take his eyes off her as he saw the apology in her emerald gaze. He offered her a small smile and a nod, letting her know that he was alright, before he heard the sound of running footsteps nearing the mouth of the alley.
She must have heard them as well because now she was dropping the small machine back into her bag and was pushing herself to her feet. Her movements were jerky though and it was only as Ianto used the wall behind him for support as he too rose, that he noticed the torn black material that covered the left side of her ribs.
He instantly felt a stab of guilt at knowing she'd been hurt. She'd gotten hurt saving him and hadn't uttered a word about it whilst she'd treated him. In fact Ianto realised she hadn't said a word at all since they'd met. When he reached out a hand towards her to try and get a better look at her side, she moved away from him, her sudden fear clear in her eyes for him to see.
“I won't hurt you,” Ianto told her, keeping his voice as soft and as non threatening as he could. “I promise, I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to check your side.”
The click of a gun's safety being took off followed his words and he fought the urge to roll his eyes at Jack's terrible timing.
“Step away from him right now,” ordered Jack as he slowly moved closer to them, his voice filled with cold anger.
Ianto looked back at the woman in front of him. She hadn't moved a single inch, but he almost laughed when he saw her roll her own eyes in what he could only assume was annoyance.
“Jack,” tried Ianto, only for the Captain to cut him off as he pressed the barrel of his gun against the woman's left temple.
“Move away from him now or I swear I'll put a bullet through your brain.”
Ianto only had a moment to see the disappointment in the woman's eyes before she moved in what he could have only described as a blur of shadows. He was left looking at Jack who was now glaring at the barrel of his own gun as it was pointed towards his own head. Just as Ianto was tensing his muscles, readying himself to jump at her, the woman replaced the safety on the gun before releasing the chamber. The weapon was tilted upwards and Ianto watched as each of the bullets slid free from their chambers to hit the ground.
Ianto looked at Jack to see his lover's face was a mask of emotionless stone. He knew though, that by the slight ticking muscle in Jack's jaw that the immortal was most likely clenching his jaw to keep himself from swearing, his icy blue eye indicating that it was exactly what he wanted to do.
“Jack,” Ianto called, speaking calmly when neither of them moved. “Jack, she helped me. I'd be dead if it wasn't for her.”
For a moment Ianto could only hold his breath as he waited for either Jack or his rescuer to make the first move. In the end, it was Jack who moved. He finally looked away from the woman to look at Ianto. His blue eyes held fear and worry in them as Jack looked Ianto over, not missing the torn and blood stained parts of his suit and shirt.
With what Ianto could only describe as a choked sob, he found himself pulled into a crushing embrace as Jack's strong arms held him tight. It was only as Jack's body heat began to warm him that Ianto realised that he was shaking. Then Jack's lips were on his own, hot and demanding and begging all at once and Ianto found that he didn't care they were being watched. He'd almost died tonight and that was reason enough not to care who watched him as he kissed Jack with as much passion and relief and love as he could show without any words.
Ianto felt that the kiss was over far too soon for his liking when Jack drew back to look at him properly. “You're sure you're Ok?” asked Jack, running a hand over Ianto's right shoulder as he spoke. “You're not hurt?”
“I'm fine Jack I promise,” replied Ianto, giving the immortal an eye roll and a smirk when he felt Jack's hands wandering no where near where the wound in his stomach had been. “I'm fine. Our new friend was hurt though. I think the Weevil caught her on the ribs.”
With reluctance, Ianto turned from Jack's embrace to see the woman who'd saved his life was now crouched besides the body of the dead Weevil. From the corner of his eyes he could see Jack picking up his gun and it's bullets, putting both back where they belonged. When she laid a hand onto the side of the Weevil's face and turned to face them, Ianto felt as if his heart was breaking.
The pain and sorrow that darkened the woman's eyes made Ianto's heart ache. He could practically feel her regret at having to kill the Weevil and although he wasn't sure if he should, Ianto still moved towards her, crouching down besides her and offering her an understanding smile. He could feel Jack standing close behind him, could feel the reassuring weight of the hand that rested on his left shoulder.
“There was no other way,” Ianto told her. “There was no other choice.”
“There is always another choice,” came her reply, muffled by the scarf and so soft that Ianto almost didn't hear it. “Even if it can't be seen.”
Neither Jack nor Ianto had the chance to reply before she simply vanished right in front of them. It was like she'd just blinked out of existence. If it hadn't been for the dead Weevil at their feet and Ianto's torn and bloody clothes, it would've been like she'd never been there in the first place. Ianto knew in that moment that if that was the case, it would be him lying at Jack's feet, dead and cooling instead of the Weevil.
Looking up at Jack, he could see the silent agreement in the older man's eyes. No matter how long it would take, they'd find her again. Without a name though, they had very little to go on.
Three weeks had passed before Gwen managed to find a lead on Ianto's mysterious saviour. In the end, all they could do was search the hospitals for a description of a pale woman with long auburn hair, green eyes and the strange tattoo that Ianto had seen. It turned out that a woman matching their description was transferred to the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff's major hospital. She'd been transferred from a smaller hospital in the Shropshire county in England.
“Owen, Ianto, you're with me,” ordered Jack, pulling on his coat and heading for the large cog door that would take him out of the hub. “Gwen, Tosh, see what else you can find on our Jane Doe.”
Jack didn't look back, knowing full well that his team were already doing as he'd asked. If he had, then maybe he'd have seen the worried look that the girls passed between them. He may have even seen Owen giving Ianto a reassuring smile that was accepted with a slight nod from the young Welshman.
“You have to understand, gentlemen,” the nurse who looked to be in her late forties, early fifties told them as she lead Jack, Owen and Ianto down the corridor towards the private rooms of the ward. “She couldn't have possibly been running around Cardiff like you said she was. She hasn't taken a single step on her own two feet for the last six weeks.”
“I'm sorry, you'd know this how?” asked Owen sarcastically as they stopped outside of the last door on the right at the end of the corridor. “The last time I checked, nurses weren't doctors.”
It was probably the most stupid thing Owen could've said to the short, but stocky nurse who barred them from the room with her feet planted at shoulder width apart and fire in her eyes as her rather large chest heaved with every furiously indignant breath she took.
“Now you listen to me you little weasel,” she growled, wagging a thick index finger under Owen's nose. “I don't care who you are let alone what you're a doctor of. I've been with that poor girl from the minute she was brought in at the other hospital to this very minute where I'm now stood in front of a doctor that quite clearly needs to get a bedside manner before he can even start working on making it any good!”
At Owen's shocked imitation of a goldfish, Jack couldn't help smirking. It seemed to Ianto though, that stupidity was probably catching as the scary nurse turned her steely eyes onto Jack.
“And you, Captain Whatever-The-Bloody-Hell-You-Name-Is!” Ianto watched silently as Jack's smirk was quickly wiped from his face and the immortal man swallowed hard. “Striding in here and disrupting this hospital like you own it is the quickest way to getting yourself thrown out on your ear. Keep your hands to yourself, keep a lid on your womanising – yes I didn't miss the way you were talking to the receptionist or the way you've been eyeing up my female and male staff. If I hear so much as one complaint, or so much as a single raised voice from this room then I will personally show you the door with my foot up your backside, young man!”
“Yes ma'am,” replied Jack solemnly.
When she turned to Ianto, he had to fight the urge to turn on his heel and run as if the hounds of Hell had been right behind him. Instead, he met the nurses grey eyes with as much seriousness and concern as he could. It seemed to do the trick as he saw the woman's gaze soften.
“Take care of her,” she told him softly. “She's done nothing to deserve spending the rest of her life as she is now. And get that Captain of yours to take you out for a proper meal or two. You need fattening up, lad.”
With a motherly pat to his right arm, the nurse turned gave Jack and Owen a last glare before she waddled away up the corridor. Ianto watched her go until she turned a corner and then he looked at Jack and Owen. Both of them were gaping at him.
“What?” he asked, slightly affronted at their incredulous looks.
“Come on,” said Jack irritably as he opened the door to the room and stepped in. “You can't have missed the way she looked at...”
When he trailed off, Owen and Ianto glanced at each other before and then walked into the room as well. They both came to a stop and stared at the figure in the bed. The woman lying in the bed hardly looked like the one Ianto had described. She was so pale that if it hadn't been for the beeping of the monitors by the beds they would've thought she was dead. Her cheeks were hollow and Ianto could easily see her collar bones where the hospital gown had been moved down to allow for the pads of the heart monitor.
She only had a slim oxygen tube hooked over her ears that fed oxygen through her nose, so Ianto knew she was breathing on her own. However, the monitor that was attached with various wires to her head showed no signs of activity. An I.V. line was attached to the inside of her right elbow while a clip-on pulse monitor and blood pressure monitor was attached to her left arm and left index finger. The staff had obviously been looking after her well as she was clean and her newly washed hair trailed over both shoulders in two braids.
“Yan?” asked Jack quietly, looking at his young lover with concern. Ianto hadn't said a word since he'd stepped into the room. Actually, Jack realised, that none of them had spoken until now. “Ianto, is this her?”
He watched Ianto carefully as the younger man looked down at the occupant of the bed with a mixture of confusion and worry and something that Jack thought could have possibly been grief.
“I don't...” Ianto swallowed and tried again. “I can't be sure. I didn't... I didn't get a good look at her face. Only the tattoo.”
“Then let's check for one,” replied Jack, gently moving his lover aside and bending slightly so he could pull up the right sleeve of the hospital gown. When the black, red and green markings came into view, Jack knew this was their woman by they way Ianto stumbled back and dropped into the visitor's chair behind him.
“It's her,” Ianto told him, his voice hoarse with an emotion that Jack couldn't put a name to right then. “Oh God, Jack. It's her.”
“Hey, hey, it's alright,” Jack soothed, crouching in front of Ianto and holding Ianto's face between his hands so that he had the young man's full attention. “It's gonna be alright. We'll figure out what's wrong with her, bring her round then get her back to the Hub. If anyone can do it, Owen can.”
“Well Owen is not a bloody miracle worker,” sighed Owen as he held out the woman's chart for Jack to look at. “According to her chart, she was found exactly six weeks ago at the doors of the local supermarket. She was unconscious, with no money and no I.D. Which is why she's been classed as a Jane Doe. She's breathing on her own, but hasn't moved a muscle since she was brought in. That dragon nurse was right. There's no way this can be the woman you saw Ianto.”
“It is. I swear Jack, that's the woman that saved me. She even got hurt doing it.”
For a moment Jack looked carefully at Ianto. The conviction in his blue-grey eyes, the earnest expression on his face let Jack know that Ianto believed this was the woman that had helped him, but even Jack had his doubts regardless of the tattoo. Then Jack latched onto the last part of Ianto's words. Standing up, Jack looked down at the young woman in the bed while speaking to Owen.
“She got hurt helping Ianto. Clawed by the Weevil.” He looked up at Owen, making sure that the young doctor understood what he was saying. “There should at least be some scarring somewhere on her ribs.”
With a curt nod, Owen pulled the bedding down to her stomach to leave her with some dignity and then began to gently pull up the white gown. To Jack it felt like each inch the gown moved upwards was taking hours and to Ianto, it felt longer. When the first silver scar came into view, Jack held his breath. When four more were revealed, his breath escaped him with a quiet curse.
Jack had seen enough claw marks from a Weevil to easily recognise them. Ianto had been right all along. This was the woman that had saved Ianto three weeks ago and with that decision made along came a healthy dose of guilt as well. “Ianto,” sighed Jack. “I'm sorry I didn't believe you.”
“It's alright Jack,” replied Ianto, looking at the young woman with a sad smile. “I almost didn't believe myself either.” The younger man looked up at him. “What do we do now?”
“According to her notes she's stable,” Owen answered after replacing the gown and blankets. “She's just not waking up. We can move her to the Hub if you want Jack.” As he thought about what they should do, Jack watched Owen take a small pen light from his jacket pocket and lean over the woman. As soon as he touched her to open one of her eyes, her left hand shot up and her fingers wrapped around his wrist.
“Fuck!” swore Owen, trying and failing to prise his wrist from her grip. Her eyes opened wide and she took in a loud gasp of air, the sound very similar to what Jack did when he came back from the dead.
“It's alright, you're safe,” said Owen, relaxing his captured hand and using the other to check the pulse in her neck. When she began fitting, Owen abandoned her pulse and tried to hold her shoulder down with his free hand. “Don't just stand there Jack! Help me hold her down before she hurts herself!”
Owen hadn't even finished the sentence by the time Jack was leant over the woman, having to press almost all of his weight onto her just to keep her on the bed. Whoever or whatever she was, she was too strong to be human.
“Ianto, mate,” called Owen, carefully keeping his words clear so the stunned Welshman wouldn't misunderstand him. “Get the sedative from my kit. The quicker we get her sedated the less chance there is of her hurting herself or one of us.”
Jack looked over his shoulder at Ianto to see the younger man doing as he'd been instructed and pulling out a syringe from Owen's black medical kit. He only had a moment to look back at Owen, seeing the doctor grimacing from the pain in his wrist, before the hot sting of a needle on the side of his neck was followed by the cold of the sedative being injected into his bloodstream.
With a savage string of his own curses, Jack released the woman and surged backwards, pushing the solid weight of someone away from him with his own body before he had no choice but to lean back against the foot of the bed. He could hear Owen swearing behind him, the words becoming distorted as the drug in his system quickly took effect. Though he tried to get his gun, he couldn't get coordinated enough to actually bring it out of its holster before his knees buckled and he felt himself hitting the ground.
Looking up at Ianto through blurring vision, terror shot through Jack when he saw a black shadow standing behind Ianto. One shadowed arm was wrapped around the young man's chest, while the free shadowy hand plunged a needle into the side of Ianto's neck. He dimly heard Ianto cry out before his blurred form was pushed to the ground besides Jack.
Jack just managed to hear a couple of gunshots before darkness swallowed him.