Disclaimer: I do not and never will own Torchwood or the characters within.
Characters: Ianto Jones
Note: Written for the Redisourcolour Challenge 23: Supernatural. Prompts used are 'prismatic, broadside, vermillion, jig' and the phrase "The leaves on the trees were fiery shades of reds and orange.' "
Author’s Note: I've gone through at least four different versions of this and its still doesn't seem quite complete, but that basically means i have plenty to use for further fics in this 'verse.
Summary: Ianto Jones worked with aliens by day and the supernatural by night.
The Gorgon’s Mask
Ianto Jones pinched the bridge of his nose and let his breath out slowly before focusing on the creatures around him.
“I do not wish to make threats or promises of dire consequences, but I will if you do not return the items you stole earlier,” he stated with a weary calmness.
Laughter surrounded him as wings fluttered in the sudden wind. Ugly faces with twisted smiles grinned at him.
“Puny human. We are far beyond your reach,” rough voices taunted.
Ianto smiled slightly. “If I was so puny and worthless I doubt you’d be taking what’s mine. You are no more to me than sprites and you know it.” He rocked on his heels with a casual movement. “You are scared.”
“We do not fear you! You do not belong here!” the voices spat at him.
Ianto sighed again. Bloody fairies he thought. This was not what he had expected to face upon his return to Cardiff seeking a safe haven and time to find a cure for Lisa. He’d only been back three days. It hadn’t even been a full week since London had crashed and burnt.
He’d received the phone call three hours ago.
“It’s been stolen,” Gordon George, owner of Fragments Antiques and Cardiff’s sole vampire, told Ianto Jones with a wave of pale hands and quick fang-filled grimace.
“Do you know who by?” Ianto Jones asked calmly as he stepped around the tall, thin man and over to a display table where several empty spaces could clearly be seen. “And did they take anything else?”
“As well as the mask they took some rings and Faro’s pelt,” Gordon replied with disgust. “They just disappeared. One minute you can see them, the next they’re gone.” He sighed. “CCTV shows absolutely nothing.”
“We’ll get them back,” Ianto told him. “Do I need to know anything about the rings?”
“One of them supposedly lets vampires walk in the daylight,” Gordon shrugged.
“Supposedly?” Ianto queried with a raised eyebrow.
“I wasn’t game enough to try it,” Gordon replied.
“Well, I’ve had no notifications of any other vampires coming to Cardiff so I don’t think we have to worry about that. As for the pelt… we do need to get that back. It shouldn’t have been on display. Faro would eat you alive if she could.”
“It wasn’t on display. Toby brought it out to clean it ready for our visit next week,” Gordon retorted defensively. “This time could be the one,” he added in a low voice.
“I know,” Ianto nodded with agreement and apology combined. “The mask, though, that we must get back as quickly as possible.”
“It’s genuine then, yes?” Gordon asked.
“Yes. I was going to call you later, but…”
“But I called you first,” Gordon finished for Ianto.
“Yeah.” Ianto closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. “It’s going to be a long night.”
“Welcome to Cardiff,” Gordon told him without a smile.
The leaves on the trees were fiery shades of reds and orange and there was a sunset behind him. The scene had been set the moment he’d appeared in the wooded clearing, leaving night behind him between one step and the next. They’d been waiting for him, deliberately blurring the lines between realities and seasons in an attempt to overawe and unsettle him. Ianto had ignored his surroundings, instead striding into the middle of the clearing wearing his second best suit and a bland expression.
They’d tried to broadside him with sudden gusts of wind and rain and he’d shrugged at their tricks, rolling his eyes with obvious disinterest, standing steady and unmoved in the middle of their storm.
“You can play these silly games and jig about all you like,” he’d told them. “But I am not here to play.” It had all gone downhill from there.
“The mask, the pelt and the rings. This is the last time I will ask you for their return,” Ianto now stated with finality. He lifted a hand and splayed his fingers over his face. He blinked slowly and the merest hint of iridescence appeared between his fingers. The woods became silent and the continual fluttering of wings stilled.
“Monster,” the fairies hissed.
“Yes,” Ianto agreed and closed his eyes. Prismatic light that caught in the fairies’ unending sunset flared around Ianto’s head shifting and weaving in serpentine coils.
“You would show your face against us?” the fairies hissed in disbelief.
“I would.” Ianto almost smiled as he sensed their unease at his too-calm manner. And in the heavy silence he heard the muted thumps of something hitting the leafy ground at his feet.
“Thank you,” he said with a small bow of acknowledgement.
“Monster,” they repeated and disappeared.
The rainbow light faded and Ianto’s hand dropped to his side before he opened his eyes. For a split second something dark was visible in his eyes before he blinked and it was gone. Ianto looked down at the items at his feet. A couple of silver rings and – Ianto smiled - Faro’s pelt. He looked at the mask lying near his feet and his smile became one of pure relief. The blank face of a Gorgon stared up at him and he knelt down to pick it up.
The bronze warmed and the empty eyeholes seemed to blink and the snakes writhed in a molten golden wave before the mask settled in his hands. He tucked it carefully into his jacket before picking up the other items. Time to go back to Gordon.
“You got them then,” Gordon didn’t quite ask as Ianto entered.
“Yes. Bloody fairies,” Ianto grumbled as he carefully placed the pelt on a table. He ran a careful hand over the soft fur. “If they’d damaged this…” his voice trailed off.
“And the mask?”
“In a safe place.” Ianto didn’t say and Gordon didn’t ask. “Here are your rings,” Ianto added and dropped the small glittering rings into Gordon’s hand. “A couple give me the tingles, so there could be something to them.”
“I’ll let Toby play with them. He likes that better than I do.” Gordon placed them in his pocket. “You’ll be coming with me to see Faro next week?” he asked as he lifted the pelt and carried it to the back kitchen. Ianto followed.
“Of course.” Ianto paused. “I’ll be… staying in Cardiff for the foreseeable future anyway.”
“I heard about London,” Gordon said.
“Yeah, so did everybody else.” Ianto sat at the table and watched Gordon make coffee. His fingers absently stroked the pelt. “I still have my phone so I’ll still take care of you and the others. And there’ll be no more danger from One finding out.”
“What about Torchwood Cardiff?” Gordon asked.
“I’m trying to get a job there,” Ianto replied. “I met their captain last night and this morning but he’s being very stubborn.”
“Word is he hates London,” Gordon said.
“Word is correct,” Ianto replied ruefully. “But if I am to keep …” Lisa “…you and the others safe then I need them.” Ianto sniffed appreciatively as Gordon brought the coffee over.
“London was a big place and easy to hide in. Cardiff has a small team. How will you manage now?”
Ianto took a sip of his coffee and smiled. “I’ll find a way.” After all, he thought, he’d been wearing masks nearly all his life. Another one wouldn’t hurt him. “And if you and Toby want to help out that would certainly make it easier as well.”
“You don’t even have to ask.” Gordon sat down with his coffee. He studied Ianto for a long moment. “Captain Harkness isn’t like most men. I don’t think he’s completely human. His blood… it smells strange.”
“There are stories that he’s been with Torchwood for over a century,” Ianto noted. “But he’s no vampire.”
“I know that,” Gordon snorted. “Neither is he a wolf according to Toby. Maybe he’s an alien. He’s just not human, but not like you’re not human. His blood I wouldn’t mind tasting.” Gordon tilted his head with a teasing smile and Ianto laughed. Gordon had been wanting to taste him ever since they met.
“No. You still can’t bite me,” he said with a grin and shake of his head. “Mine would not suit you.” Vermillion wasn’t just a colour and Ianto was always very particular about who had contact with his blood.
“So you keep saying,” Gordon replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. “You know I will ask again. I am persistent like that.”
“Persistent and stubborn,” Ianto agreed as he stood up. “Well, I must be going. I have something else to try to get the Captain to hire me. Third time lucky hopefully.”
“And if that fails?” Gordon asked softly.
“Then…” A distant look appeared on Ianto’s face. After all, his masks could only take him so far. “I don’t know, Gordon. I really don’t know.” He smiled crookedly, sadly. “But I have to keep trying.”