Fandom: Torchwood, The Sentinel
Pairing: Jack Harkness/ Ianto Jones
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor ever will, the characters of either Torchwood or The Sentinel
Notes: for the Telepathy prompt on my longliveianto bingo card 2
“For every Sentinel there is a Guide.”
It was not going to be easy and it definitely wouldn’t be pretty but as Jack Harkness watched his newest team member he knew he could delay no longer. There was potential in Gwen Cooper and he could sense it. There were Guide genes in Gwen Cooper that in a few generations would become active and online.
His senses were becoming ever sharper and he had yet to claim his Guide.
Guides were extremely rare this early in Earth’s history and he had never thought to find one. Certainly not one in an urban setting. Sentinels and Guides had only survived in the wild, in primitive tribes and cultures until the genes that determined both Sentinels and Guides became more prevalent as humans spread out into space and the need for their talents became a matter of survival. Evolution at work.
Jack had only come across one online Guide in the twentieth century. A young anthropologist who had even managed to find a Sentinel. When news had broken of a reported Sentinel, Jack had flown halfway around the world hoping to find another time-lost survivor. But while Jim Ellison had been a Sentinel there had been no signs he had ever travelled in time. And Jack had watched as the anthropologist declared himself a fraud and his dissertation fake.
(Jack knew otherwise. He had managed to get a copy of the dissertation and he had read it avidly. It was sitting in his secure safe and one day, in a few hundred years, The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg was going to become the definitive text for all Sentinels and Guides. Jack was going to make sure of it.)
He had spent a night with both Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg that neither of them would ever remember. And at the end of that night he had known that Ellison and Sandburg were a naturally occurring bonded Pair that they were simply a manifestation of evolution keeping the necessary genes viable. Jack knew he could expect to see other Pairs appear sporadically over the next centuries.
He hadn’t expected to be one of them.
“Your Guide is your anchor. The welfare of your Guide is always your first concern.”
Jack watched Ianto Jones appear from the Archives. He moved with a guarded elegance that entranced Jack. Ianto always moved carefully when he was around other people. Jack wondered if Ianto was aware of how much effort he put into avoiding being touched or to touching others.
Jack was rather glad that Ianto was rarely touched. The scent of others on his Guide was like an itch he couldn’t scratch. Jack often boasted about the effect of his own pheromones but they were nothing compared to the intoxicating scent of his Guide. Once he claimed Ianto that scent would change and become mixed with his own. But first he had to confront the young Welshman about the faltering heartbeat in the sub-levels.
From their first meeting he had known that something was tormenting Ianto. Something or someone had a claim on his Guide and until the threat was gone, Jack could not stake his own claim. And Ianto’s suffering was increasing. Jack couldn’t wait any longer for Ianto to free himself. Ianto was being dragged down by the metal chains that draped ever thicker over his spirit animal and the Sentinel in Jack could no longer watch him hurting.
(The village Shaman had once told him he would know his Guide by his spirit animal but Jack had been very bemused by the small sand dragon that had appeared, transparent and half-wrapped in metal, at Ianto’s feet in Bute Park on their first encounter. The small winged reptiles had been much prized by his village on the Boeshane Peninsula but he had never expected to ever see one – corporeal or not – on Earth. For Ianto to have a spirit animal not of Earthly origin was simply one more proof that Ianto Jones was his Guide.)
Jack looked for the little dragon but rarely saw it, and the last time it had appeared it had been curled up shivering in a corner of his office, the chains heavier and its eyes dim. Jack’s own spirit animal had taken to following the Welshman around and was giving Jack impatient looks. It too, felt the hurt in Ianto.
“Guides are empathic. Your mental shields will shelter Your Guide as his shields will ground your senses.”
Coffee nearly always appeared on his desk before he asked for it.
“Thanks Ianto,” he said, looking up with a wide smile and appreciative sniff. “Smells just perfect. As usual,” he added. Even without bonding, Jack could relax his rigid control and wallow in the rich aroma of Ianto’s extra strong coffee.
“Sir,” Ianto acknowledged with a bowed head. “Ms Cooper has nearly finished her initial paperwork and Tosh would like to introduce her to Mainframe.”
“Good, tell Tosh to go ahead.” Jack paused. “What do you think of Gwen Cooper, Ianto?”
Ianto half-turned and looked out of the office to study the dark-haired Welshwoman.
“She’s enthusiastic and slightly overwhelmed at the moment, but she should settle down soon.” Ianto’s head tilted slightly. Torchwood personnel who didn’t settle usually died. “She’s stubborn and headstrong and she’ll need training.” Ianto shrugged and turned back to face Jack, his eyes unfocussed and puzzled.
“Should I have hired her?” Jack asked gently, not wanting to break Ianto’s empathic semi-daze.
“Yes. No.” Ianto shook his head with a frown. “She’s attracted to you and you to her, but not enough for you, you’re not attracted in the same way. She’s too human. She’s naïve and I don’t think she’s ever suffered real loss or pain. There’s an idealism about her that’s almost appealing but also worrying. She’ll see the trees not the forest. She’s not Torchwood and I wonder if she’ll try to change us to fit her or if she will be changed to fit us. If she stays then you need to hire more people. We need her perspective but we also have to have…” ... balance against her. Too much idealism will kill us as easily as too much cynicism will. London is proof of that.
Jack heard the unspoken words clearly. There will never be another Torchwood One, Ianto he promised with a firm thought. Ianto’s eyes went wide and he took a startled step backwards.
“There’s a weevil in Splott,” Toshiko said as she appeared in the doorway. Jack was up on his feet and bustling around his desk before she had finished speaking.
“Owen can come with me. You and Cooper can monitor us, teach her how it works,” Jack ordered as he grabbed his ear piece from his desk. Ianto was already standing waiting with the heavy greatcoat held open and Jack stood while Ianto smoothly placed him in it. Jack took a deep breath and stilled as Ianto straightened the collar and brushed his hands over Jack’s shoulders.
Ianto’s scent and touch grounded him and he looked at the pale young man. “Tonight, Ianto, we will talk about this tonight.”
“Yes Sir,” Ianto replied carefully with a wary expression in his eyes.
“Nothing to be scared about,” Jack said reassuringly as he headed out of his office, coat swirling around him.
“Of course not, Sir,” Ianto mumbled disbelievingly as Jack disappeared with Owen.
I meant it, trust me. Ianto jumped and swore in Welsh as Jack’s voice echoed in his head.
“Each bond is different but a bond once formed is unbreakable so be very certain that you have found Your destined Guide.”
Jack watched the others leaving the Hub. As soon as the echoes from the siren of the cog door had subsided he stretched out his hearing. Immediately he zeroed in on Ianto’s heartbeat. The young man was heading up from the Archives. Jack concentrated and catalogued Ianto’s condition. Coffee and dust odours combined with a sour nervousness that Jack could almost taste and his heartbeat was a bit too fast.
Jack leant back in his chair. Taste and scent were already fully locked onto his Guide and once Ianto’s secret in the basement was taken care of Jack would be able to ground his other senses in Ianto. It wasn’t uncommon for Guides to have their senses improved through the bond and Jack wondered idly what that would do to Ianto’s coffee making skills. Although there was also the possibility of his immortality being shared as well. Jack frowned. Much as he hated being immortal, the thought of never having to lose his Guide was extremely reassuring.
My Guide forever he thought, projecting without realising.
Sir? Ianto’s mental query was tentative and Jack closed his eyes, tracking the man as he left the tunnels and approached his office.
“Sir?” Ianto repeated as he appeared and Jack opened his eyes. “Do you…”
“No,” Jack shook his head. “No, no coffee. Come and sit down, Ianto. We need to talk.”
The Sentinel was a TV series that ran from 1996 to 1999 in which Jim Ellison, ex- Army Ranger and now police detective - has enhanced senses and meets an anthropology student Blair Sandburg who after reading a monograph by Sir Richard Burton, has obsessed for years on finding a Sentinel for his dissertation. In the last episode of the series Blair’s unedited dissertation is leaked and he claims it as fiction to protect Jim.
Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) – explorer, writer – was appointed Consul by the Foreign Office to Santos, Brazil in 1865 until 1869.
The Sentinels of Paraguay by Sir Richard Burton was fabricated for the TV series and doesn’t actually exist.