Title: Upon This Rock
Characters: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Owen Harper. Jack/Ianto
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor ever will, Torchwood or the characters within.
Author’s Note: i need to find a tag for this 'verse. Something geological i think...
Summary: Jack and Ianto have never been able to really trust anyone in their time at Torchwood. Now they have no choice.
Upon This Rock
As soon as Captain Jack Harkness lost contact with Ianto in London, he was on his feet, grabbing his coat and running out of the Hub. Adrenalin had spurred him on and he was out of Cardiff within minutes before he got around to answering his incessantly buzzing com.
“What’s going on, Jack?” Suzie Costello’s confused voice demanded.
“Something urgent came up,” Jack answered finding it difficult to keep his voice even. The hope of the Doctor’s long-awaited appearance warred with the fear for Ianto.
“What about us? We should be with you,” Suzie accused him. “You’re heading to London, aren’t you? Tosh said there’s some kind of energy burst there. Shouldn’t we contact them? Try to help?”
“NO! Under no circumstances are you to contact them!” Jack snarled his response. “Whatever is happening there is none of your concern.”
“Jack! They’re Torchwood too!” Suzie protested. “I know you don’t get on with them, but we can’t…”
“We certainly can,” Jack replied emphatically. “You will stay there, you will monitor the rift to make sure it doesn’t flare up in response to whatever is going on in London and you will wait until I call you. And that, Suzie Costello, is an order.” Jack’s voice was flat and hard. Whatever was happening to London was something he didn’t want his team to become embroiled in.
Jack hadn’t spent the last seven years trying to distance Torchwood Three from One as he far as he could to have it all fall apart now. He had kept his team from becoming involved with the increasing corporate image that London seemed to be chasing. And Torchwood One had become more ruthless over the last few years. Jack was beyond grateful that he and Ianto had gotten the hierarchy at One to agree to certain conditions once they had ‘acquired’ Ianto from Cardiff at the turn of the century. Jack refused to consider what Ianto’s life would be like had Yvonne been in charge back then.
Jack had also kept his team from knowing anything about himself and even less about Ianto. All the Cardiff files on them had been deleted or buried as deeply as he could manage. No-one except himself or Ianto could access them, but one call to London could undo all his work. And that was without even adding this apparent appearance of the Doctor as well. Only with Ianto had he shared the tales of his time with the Doctor. Who knows what Torchwood would have done to them if they had ever discovered his link to the Doctor. Goddess but life gets complicated sometimes Jack thought as he listened to Suzie’s reluctant agreement.
“I’ll contact you from London,” he promised before cutting the connection and concentrating solely on getting to London and Ianto. And the Doctor.
Half an hour later his mobile rang and he was barely able to hear Ianto’s despairing voice.
“Cybermen, Slate! There are cybermen here! They’re… They... ohh Goddess! Slate… they’re Yvonne’s ghosts! … she’s going to be the death of us all!”
Jack’s blood ran cold. “Get out of there, Ianto! Get out of there NOW!”
“I can’t, Slate. I can’t. They’re all going to die! I’ve got to save them!”
“Ianto! Ikaite! You have to get out of there! I’ll be there in less than two hours. You have to leave there now! Please,” Jack begged.
“Slate. I’m sorry.” Ianto’s voice was almost drowned out by the sound of a large explosion and Jack shouted at him.
“NO! Ikaite! NO!”
“… tynfaen,” Ianto’s voice was heavy with regret and purpose and Jack screamed in frustrated anguish as the phone went dead and he felt the soul-bond break.
Jack swore furiously as he planted his foot squarely on the accelerator and floored it. The black SUV of Torchwood Three rocketed down the M4.
“The Doctor’s there. He’ll help, he’ll save you. He has to. Come back, Ikaite, come back to me. The Doctor’s there, he’ll help.” Jack found himself muttering over and over as he waited for his soul-mate’s return. He focused on the bond following it to the golden flame that always brought them back knowing Ianto was just on the other side.
As he pushed the SUV beyond its limits he felt Ianto revive and tried calling him but the phone wouldn’t connect. He was still trying when he felt Ianto die again.
The last hour to London was a nightmare. Jack could feel Ianto dying and the SUV wouldn’t go any faster and he wished that his vortex manipulator worked and he wished that he’d gotten Ianto out of London earlier and he wished that Yvonne Hartman survived so he could murder her for somehow bringing one of the worst nightmares to Earth and he hoped that the Doctor was still there and was going to be able to save them all. But above all he prayed for Ianto to stop dying and reviving.
It was his worst nightmare and he couldn’t do anything about it.
Canada One Square was eerily empty but Jack could hear the distant rumble of military vehicles and sporadic gunfire as he leapt from the SUV. There was surprisingly little damage to the building’s exterior but it was obvious there had been a battle here as soon as he entered the Tower and saw scorch marks on the walls and the bodies of those who’d tried to flee.
Jack bounded over them and headed for the stairs. There would be plenty of time to bury the dead. After he found Ianto.
As he flew down the stairs he called his team.
“I’m lifting the lockdown, Suzie. I want you and Owen here as soon as possible,” Jack said without preamble. “Get Tosh to ring the PM and inform him that Torchwood Three will be in charge of the Tower clean up and that there will be no inter-agency squabbling over whatever happened here. If there’s any problems, tell her to ring me straight away. If anyone other than the Queen herself rings and says otherwise, ring me. In fact even if she does ring, call me anyway.”
“Clean up, Jack? What happened?” Suzie began and Jack interrupted her.
“I don’t have time right now, Suzie, just get yourselves here ASAP.” Jack hung up on her and slammed through the door that he hoped would lead him to Ianto.
The room Ianto had been assigned and Jack had visited once before was empty.
He wasn’t in the Archives where he’d been allowed to work.
He wasn’t in the labs where One liked to occasionally test his immortality.
Ianto was in the building. Jack knew that, he could feel him. Could feel their bond even as Ianto died again.
Goddess, Jack prayed as he began heading upwards. Goddess, please let me find him. Ianto was hurt and hurt badly. He kept dying and it tore Jack apart every time the bond broke. It had been too long since he’d felt such a continual cycle of death and resurrection. He needed to get to his soul-mate and stop whatever was killing him.
And when he finally found Ianto strapped to a conversion table, he knew that nightmare didn’t even come close to what he felt.
“Ikaite,” Jack whispered in despairing horror. Metal covered Ianto’s legs and one arm. Tubes and wires poked into his chest and metal encircled his forehead. Blood painted the pale skin around the metal inserts and bruises were blooming across his face and ribs. Jack reached out to touch Ianto’s face with trembling fingers and shuddered at how cold the skin was. He had to swallow hard as his stomach roiled.
Ianto came back to life with a loud breath and blood pulsed out around the penetrating tubes adding another red coat to his skin. Without opening his eyes he jerked against the restraints, teeth noisily grinding together.
“Ikaite,” Jack repeated as the bond warmed them both. “Ianto,” he said louder.
“Slate?” Ianto frowned and stopped moving. His eyes opened slowly, blinking in the light and Jack immediately leant over him.
“Right here, Ianto. Right here, cariad,” he said gently.
“Slate,” Ianto almost whimpered as tears suddenly slipped from his eyes. “The cybermen ...”
“They’re all gone. No cybermen left now,” Jack soothed.
“And the daleks?” Ianto asked and Jack nearly fell backwards in shock.
“Daleks?! There were daleks here too?” He looked around him, eyes blinking as if he expected to be surrounded by daleks. He took a deep breath and looked back at Ianto. “No, I never saw any daleks. They must be gone too. Where’s the Doctor?”
“Jack … don’t know. I never got to see him. Jack, I need …” Ianto shivered and tensed, breathing rapidly as he bit at his lip.
“What? What do you need?”
“I need … you need to kill me.”
“What?! NO!” Jack shook his head and grabbed at Ianto’s still human hand. He drew back in shock as he felt it slipping through his hand and looked down to see it covered in blood. Blood that seeped from the deep jagged cuts across Ianto’s wrist.
“You have to, Jack. The cyber programming … it’s trying to start.” Ianto swallowed and pressed his wrist against the sharp strap circling his wrist. “Blood loss is making it harder for me to keep dying … I’m going to have to sleep … and then … then it’ll take over.”
“Oh Goddess, Ianto. You’ve been …” Jack looked from Ianto’s bloody wrist to the pain-filled eyes and back again. “Ikaite. I can’t …”
“You have to.” Ianto’s voice was firm. He arched up with a groan and then stared fixedly at Jack. “Jack, you have to kill me and then you need to get rid of all the metal on and in me.”
Jack paled so rapidly Ianto thought the man would faint.
“Slate. It has to be done. You and I both know what damage even one cyberman can do. I don’t want to be that one.”
Jack’s mind was whirling and he felt sick. He shook his head. “I can’t, Ianto, oh Goddess I can’t. You know what the Agency taught me. It’d be butchery. Even if I had my old tools…” Jack swallowed. “Ianto, I’d have to tear you apart to get all that out of you. It’ll take you days to resurrect. And the pain. Ikaite, you know how much it hurts to grow back. And … and we couldn’t do it now. UNIT and every other agency is going to be at the Tower doors any moment now and if they find you …” Jack took a breath. “I can’t – I won’t let them have you.”
“I know. I know. But we don’t have a choice. There’s no-one else.” Ianto twitched, closing his eyes for a long moment. He opened them and stared at Jack. “I trust you and I love you. I will be back, you know that. I … we … it just has to be done.”
“This is my fault,” Jack whispered as he twisted his fingers around Ianto’s. “Because of me you …”
“Stop that!” Ianto commanded. “It’s not your fault! I don’t regret anything about being able to be with you forever. Not even this.” Ianto’s hand gripped tighter to Jack’s and he offered up a wavering smile. “Besides I’d much rather have you dismembering me than Alice Guppy.”
“Yeah, ‘cos I’ll let you sleep through it,” Jack said brokenly before burying his head against Ianto’s shoulder and letting his tears flow.
When Suzie Costello and Owen Harper from Torchwood Three arrived at the Tower they found their Captain in a heated discussion with several military personnel. It took only moments before the soldiers went storming off and Jack came over to meet them.
“Suzie I need you to work on securing all the tech and weaponry. There’s a large basement and there’s a fair amount of damage there. Use that as a staging area. UNIT are not allowed to remove anything from the building. Everything has to be taken to the basement. They have been told and warned what will happen if they don’t comply. They also know that if they behave I might let them have some small tokens of appreciation. But only after everything’s been collected and sorted.”
“What happened here, Jack?” Suzie asked. “It looks like a war zone.”
“Pretty much what it was,” Jack replied with a shrug. To be honest he didn’t much care about the battle now. Torchwood One had brought this upon themselves and Jack wanted nothing to do with what was left but he couldn’t just let UNIT or anyone else get their equally untrustworthy hands on the obviously alien tech and knowledge that London housed. “But it’s all over now and I want this clean-up done as quickly as possible. I don’t want to spend a minute longer than necessary here,” Jack added firmly.
“Now, Owen, they haven’t found many survivors yet,” Jack turned to the doctor. “The ones that haven’t been converted are being held in the lobby, the others are being euthanized…”
“Converted? Euthanized?” Owen spluttered. “What the hell are you talking about?”
Jack took a deep breath. “Cybermen were here and they began converting people …” Jack paused as he took note of Owen’s blank and horrified expression. “Cybermen are cyborgs and they started turning everyone here into cyborgs like them. It’s not a reversible process. And one cyberman is more than enough to bring about the end of the world, so we need to make sure there are none left. Anyone who has the slightest piece of metal attached to them – whether they’re dead or alive – is a potential threat.”
Owen blinked as he listened. There was a darkness to both the Captain’s voice and reddened eyes that Owen had never seen before. He looked closer at Jack. The Captain was pale and there were dried blood streaks on his hands and coat.
“Jack…” he began to protest.
“No, Owen. There is no other way. The smallest bit of cyber tech can corrupt. It will have to be burnt once it’s removed. Along with the corpses.” Jack stared hard at Owen. “If you can’t do this you need to tell me now.”
Owen swallowed hard. He had to take several deep breaths and several more swallows before he could speak.
“Good.” Jack let his own breath out. “The main conversion rooms are up on the thirtieth floor.”
Something was wrong. Owen was sure of it.
Every time he tried to access the Torchwood database it was down. The Captain said the system was locked to stop outside Agencies from accessing it. Owen said he wasn’t an outside agency and needed the personnel files to be able to identify the survivors. The Captain told him that no-one had access to the files at the moment and that Owen would just have to do the best he could. Owen was not pleased.
He called Tosh in Cardiff and asked her to access through the Mainframe. Within minutes the Captain had returned, fiddling with his wrist-strap and ordering Owen to stop bothering Tosh and to get back to work.
Suzie also wanted the database and was refused.
The Captain kept disappearing as well, and when he reappeared he looked pale and almost distraught. Jack was always harsher on his return not caring who got the sharp edge of his tongue.
There were several rooms that Jack at first refused to allow anyone to enter. And when Owen did manage to sneak into them he saw the signs of a hurried search. He wondered what the Captain was looking for and then wondered if he’d found it.
As night fell and Owen realised he’d been there for over twelve hours he became aware that something was greatly amiss with the Captain. His temper was getting shorter with every passing hour. There was a building impatience that was obvious as Jack stalked and prowled endlessly through the Tower. His restlessness irritated exhausted men and soldiers and tempers flared occasionally. Owen noticed that Jack seem to relish the small quarrels, possibly as an outlet for whatever was bothering him, or as a distraction.
The team in Cardiff had often speculated about the Captain and his lack of any background or personal information as well as his knowledge of much of the alien tech and life-forms they encountered. Owen found it easy to think that the Tower obviously held some of the answers to the question that was Captain Jack Harkness. It was equally easy to see that Jack did not want anyone to know those answers.
Owen didn’t hold out much hope for getting those answers. He knew exactly how determined the Captain could be. No-one was going to find anything that Jack did not want found.
It was three days before Owen found himself heading back to Cardiff with Jack and a truck load of tech.
The first thing Jack did on his return to Cardiff was order Owen to take Tosh home. The young woman had been working non-stop manning the Hub while they’d been in London and Jack insisted she go home.
While they were gone Jack began to unload the truck. When Owen returned it was already half empty.
Jack’s voice was tired and the doctor looked up from the box he was sorting to see an equally exhausted expression on the Captain’s face.
“I need you to help me with something.”
“Yeah,” Owen said, stretching as he stood up.
“You can’t tell the others, Owen.”
The firm tone had Owen pausing mid-stretch. His eyes narrowed. “What’s going on?”
“I need your promise Owen,” Jack stated clearly.
“Your promise, Owen,” Jack repeated. Despite the evident tiredness, the Captain’s stubbornness was obviously unaffected.
“Fine, I promise,” Owen snapped to hide the sudden uneasiness he felt.
“Good, I’d hate to have to retcon you. Follow me,” Jack said and turned, heading for the stairs to the lower levels of the Hub.
Owen let his breath out and wondered just what he was getting himself into as he began to follow Jack. Owen’s uneasiness grew as they passed the archives and then the cells. Jack continued down until he came to a locked door. He stopped.
“What you’re…” Jack shook his head. “Just remember your promise, Owen.” He lifted his wrist and opened his strap. A shrill beep and the locks clicked open.
Owen saw Jack take a deep breath before pushing open the door. Bright light spilt into the dim hallway and Jack entered leaving Owen hesitating. He was abruptly terrified. He could hear the sounds of machinery and he could hear Jack talking. He stepped into the room before he could stop himself.
“What the fuck are you doing with that?!” Owen exclaimed in horror.
Jack stood beside a conversion table. An occupied conversion table. A young dark haired man with converted legs and a converted arm. Tubes sprouted from his chest and neck and a metal band circled his forehead.
“You said these things were beyond dangerous and you have one here?! Are you insane?” Owen shouted torn between terror and anger. “It should have been killed with the others in London!”
“Ianto is not like them!” Jack shouted back. “He is not going to become a cyberman!”
“How do you know that? You said they all had to be burnt, metal and all, to stop them.”
“The metal will be burnt,” Jack said between gritted teeth. “After you help me remove it from him.”
Owen stopped cold. “Say what?”
“You’re going to help me remove every last bit of cyber tech from him,” Jack said with an abnormally calm manner.
“It can’t be done,” Owen replied simply.
“Not normally, no. But Ianto is special and it can be done. We will do it.”
Owen shook his head. “Jack, you know it can’t be done. You’re the one that said even the smallest bit would corrupt a person. It…” Owen paused as Jack frowned. “He is over fifty per cent converted. We couldn’t get it all out. He wouldn’t even survive the surgery.”
Jack was shaking his head. “No, Ianto will survive. What I want… what I need from you is for you to help me remove the tech.”
“You’re repeating yourself Jack. It cannot be done,” Owen reiterated.
“And I’m telling you that we will do it.” Jack waved a hand to one side. “I have all the equipment here.”
Owen looked and found a full set of surgical instruments including an amputation kit and several scanners. He began shaking his head.
“No,” he said. “I won’t. This is beyond cruel.”
“Cruel is keeping him suffering for any longer!” Jack said emphatically. “Ianto has waited for three days for this and I will not let him wait any more.”
“What would be cruel would be making Jack do this on his own,” a new voice interrupted them. Jack immediately turned to the young man on the table.
“Ianto,” his voice was soft, impossibly gentle and he brushed a hand over the dark hair. The young man smiled at him.
“It’s okay Jack.”
Owen watched with dropped jaw. Jack flirted with everyone but Owen had never seen him actually involved with anyone either male or female. Now he knew why. Now he understood why Jack was so intent on trying to save this Ianto. He sighed. It was still impossible and he had to somehow make Jack realise that.
“Dr Harper, Jack hasn’t told you everything,” Ianto spoke and Owen met the pain-filled eyes that might have been blue if they weren’t so reddened. “I will die but I will come back again.”
“It’s one of his many talents,” Jack added trying to lighten the moment.
Owen shook his head again feeling as if he’d stepped into the twilight zone. The serious expressions on their faces meant they believed what they were saying but Owen knew it had to be false.
“People don’t die and come back. It’s impossible.”
“Less than ten minutes and I’ll be proving you wrong, Doctor,” Ianto replied wryly.
“Ianto dies every hour to stop the cyber programming from commencing,” Jack told Owen. “He’s done that for the last three days. It has to stop now. If you’re not going to help, just get out.” Jack didn’t look at Owen as he busied himself at the table.
Owen watched as Jack held Ianto’s one flesh hand in one hand and opened a drip line with the other. He watched as Ianto’s eyes closed and Jack kept holding on as the machine went silent.
“It’ll take a few minutes but he’ll be back,” Jack spoke almost absently as he kept stroking Ianto’s hair. “He knows I don’t have the knowledge to do this on my own. He’s worried I’ll miss something or I’ll be too concerned about him to do it properly. He will come back and that is why there’s no-one else we can trust with this secret. We… I don’t trust easily and if we could have done this on our own, we would have. You gave me your promise, Owen. You say anything about Ianto and I will kill you.”
“Jack, I don’t… it all sounds so fantastic and unbelievable. I just don’t believe it,” Owen replied feeling completely out of his depth.
The sudden inhale and loud gasp from Ianto’s corpse had Owen jumping in shock and rushing over to the table. “What the…?!”
“Told you,” Jack couldn’t resist saying as he leant over Ianto.
“Slate? Jack?” Ianto mumbled, his eyes opening and wildly seeking the familiar face.
“I’m right here, Ianto. Right here,” Jack said quietly.
“He… he came back!” Owen spluttered with wide eyes.
“Yeah,” Ianto agreed on a sigh.
“And it hurts him – it hurts me every time and in another hour he’ll do it again.” Jack looked at Owen. “Will you help us?” There were unshed tears in the Captain’s eyes. “Please.”
Owen looked from one to the other. “He comes back but… his legs and arm will have to be amputated,” Owen paused not knowing how to continue.
“We know,” Ianto answered. “They’ll grow back.”
“They’ll grow back,” Owen parroted and rolled his eyes. “Of course they will. You’re a fucking starfish in human clothing right?” he said sarcastically. “Okay, seriously now, regrowing limbs?”
“Seriously, Owen.” Jack looked undecided for a moment before continuing. “Ianto will regain his legs and arms and any other parts of his body that need to be removed up to and including his heart. It will take a couple of weeks and it will be extremely painful for him. He’ll have to be sedated until everything grows back.”
“So what you want is for me to remove all the tech including whatever body parts they’re attached to and then keep him asleep for a few weeks while he grows it all back again and I can’t tell anyone,” Owen stated as calmly as he could.
“Yep,” Ianto said.
“Yeah,” Jack nodded.
“Yes,” Owen agreed.
It took hours. It didn’t take long to remove Ianto’s legs and arm. It took much longer to track and remove the cables that had been inserted into his chest. The wires and cables had threaded themselves through muscles and along nerves. Some of his internal organs had been partially converted and Owen had to remove a lung and most of his liver and intestines. It was the metal band around Ianto’s head that caused them the most concern. Despite Jack’s reassurances, Owen could not believe that removing half of Ianto’s brain was in his best interests.
“Never tell me how you know this is okay,” Owen demanded as he carefully sliced through the brainstem.
“Don’t worry, I won’t,” Jack promised.
After everything was done, Ianto had been settled into a small bed and his body had been scanned again, Owen set up a drip with a heavy duty sedative.
“He’ll revive and go straight into sleep,” he said. “There’ll be no time that he’ll be aware of what’s happening to him. The drip will need checking every hour.”
“I can do that. You’ll have to go back to London for a few more days until Suzie is ready to return. We can’t leave Tosh here alone again.”
“It might be better if you go to London. They didn’t like you leaving,” Owen pointed out.
“I know, but…” Jack scratched at the side of his neck. “When he’s like this, I can’t leave him. I have to be here.”
“He’ll be sedated, he won’t know if you’re here or not,” Owen replied. “I’ll take good care of him.”
“Oh, I don’t doubt you would but… oh, he’ll know. Sedated or not, he always knows.” Jack looked at the truncated form under the thick blankets and ran his hand across the bandaged head.
“Another talent of his?” Owen queried.
“Yeah, you could say that,” Jack smiled slightly and bent down to kiss the cool cheek of his soul-mate.
Owen opened his mouth and then changed his mind. “Alright, I’ll go to London. But Suzie and I will be back in a week.”
“Sounds good. I’ll make sure the powers that be know that too.” Jack looked at Owen. “Thank you,” he said gratefully.
Owen shrugged, uncomfortable with the gratitude. “Yeah, well, just doing my job,” he muttered and began cleaning up the detritus of the surgery.
Jack left Ianto and began collecting all the disabled cyber tech for the incinerator. They worked in silence until a small gasp told them Ianto had revived. Jack watched for a while and then went back to work dismantling the conversion table.
“What are you going to do with him after he wakes up?” Owen asked.
“He’ll stay here. Where he belongs.” Jack grinned. “He makes the best coffee.”
Owen groaned. “Oh great. I saved a fucking teaboy.”
Continues in Of Chalk and Chocolate