A/N: Much love to dragonessasmith for the beta and coffeemagic's mun for the inspiration. The character of Ianto in the story is Torchwood's Ianto Jones. Why is he traveling with Ace and Seven? That is a long story to be told at a future date.
Disclaimer: I Don't own Doctor Who or Torchwood.
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me.
-One Night in Bangkok, Murray Head
It was supposed to be a relaxing evening. The Doctor and Ianto had talked Ace into going to a play with them and she had returned the favor by insisting that they went out for drinks afterward. The bar was only a block away from the theater and they were almost there when a woman came running out of the alleyway straight into Ace.
"I sorry. So sorry." The woman- girl really- tried to pull away but Ace held her firm. Despite the cold night she was wearing a dress revealing enough that Ianto was blushing. Her feet were bare and bleeding.
"Wait a sec," Ace said as she shrugged out of her jacket. "Let us..."
"I have to go. They following."
"Who is following?" Ianto asked gently.
"I need get help. Promised others." The girl refused Ace's offer of her jacket and once more tried to pull away.
"You've found help," the Doctor promised, calming her with a single look. "We can help you. My name is The Doctor and these are my friends Ace and Ianto."
"My name Rena," the girl said. "They took me from family."
"I don't like this." Ianto fussed around the kitchen, washing coffee cups and wiping down the counter, avoiding looking directly at Ace or the Doctor.
"We can't do anything to help Rena and the other girls until we know more," Ace said patiently.
"I understand that. I don't understand why you have to go alone."
"I'm not alone. Rena's showing me the way."
"She'll be careful." The Doctor, who had been silently watching them, spoke up. "Won't you Ace?"
"You know me, Professor," Ace answered glibly.
"I do, which is why I'm asking you to be more cautious this time."
"Oi! I'm hurt." Ace crossed her arms, mock-glaring at the Doctor.
"Please?" Ianto asked softly.
"I'll be there and back before anyone sees me," she promised. She didn't know that she was lying.
Marks was watching her. He was trying to be discreet- a word she was sure he wouldn't understand the meaning of if she explained it to him. He was standing in a doorway directly across the street and she had noticed him from the moment he had gotten out of his red Mustang. No one had walked past in that time, but now a man was approaching and she was going to have to make this look real.
"Hey mister, you looking t' have a good time tonight?" she called out, pitching her voice so that it would carry as far as Mark's hiding spot.
"I'm sorry, I'm on my way to..." The man gave her a cursory glance, looking away before jerking his head back. In the process he stumbled, but caught himself before falling. "Ace?"
"Oh, it's you," she said, not letting on how relieved she was. Louder she added "You like what you see?"
"Where have you been? We've been looking for you everywhere, the Doctor and I." When he stuck one hand into his suit pocket Ace guessed that he was going for his mobile, forgetting that he couldn't reach the Professor that way.
"Rena's dead." Ace looked down at her hands, for an instant seeing them as they had been two days ago- covered with Rena's blood. "I had to go with the others when they were moved, otherwise I would have lost them."
"I'm sorry. I know how hard you were trying to get her somewhere safe." He started to reach out to her, but stopped himself. Any comforting gesture would look suspicious to the man across the street watching them.
"Can't save them all," Ace shrugged, trying to look blasé. Her eyes couldn't hide how she felt, though. She needed to get out of here, away from Marks' hawk-like gaze. "So wadda you say, mister? You wanna take me home for the night?"
"Ummm..." Ianto studied her, trying to ascertain what she wanted him to say. Very subtly she nodded. "I have a twenty in my wallet," he offered.
"Twenty pounds won't even buy you an hour," she said loudly. Leaning against the wall behind her she ran a hand through her hair and flipped the ends. She hoped the pose made her look experienced and seductive, not ridiculous like it made her feel. She was not made to act coy. "Someone as... knowledgeable... as I am rates a hell of a lot more than a twenty. Make it thirty, honey?"
Ianto didn't risk speaking, only nodded and led her by the elbow to the nearest corner. He didn't slow down until they were two blocks away from where they had met. He looked around for a red Mustang before he stopped. "Ace..."
"Don't." She held up her hand, palm outward. "My feet are killing me, I haven't slept in two days, and this thing laughingly called an outfit shows off more of me than has been seen in public since Sheena dared me to streak past the market the year I was twelve. Any reprimands or lectures are going to have to wait until we get back to the TARDIS, and then you are going to have to wait in line behind the Professor. I'm sure he's well mad by now."
"Not mad." Ianto shook his head. "Worried And I was just going to say that the alley where we landed is fairly far from here. We might want to take a cab."
"Won't that just make a picture." Ace tugged disparagingly on her black spandex mini skirt. "But yeah, the less I have to walk in these blast shoes the better."
"Here, this might be a bit more comfortable." Slipping off his pinstriped suit jacket, Ianto draped it over Ace's shoulders.
"Your really are something else, you know that? I thought only blokes in sappy chick movies did thing like this." Ace tugged the jacket tighter around herself. The material still held his body heat. For the first time in two days she began to feel warm. "Let's find that cab now. The sooner we get back the sooner I can get a cup of your magic brew. The coffee I've been drinking to stay awake isn't worth a bent penny compared to yours."
"I'll head straight for the kitchen when we get to the TARDIS," Ianto promised. "Then you can tell the Doctor and I where the girls are and how we're going to rescue them."
She fell asleep in the cab. Blinking her eyes furiously she tried to stay awake, but the lull of the ride and the knowledge that Ianto would look out for her was too much of a temptation. When they rounded a corner she slumped to the side and used Ianto's shoulder for a pillow.
"We're here." Ianto shook Ace gently before reaching across the front seat to pay the cabbie. The man gave them a strange look, either because of Ace's outfit or because of the deserted alleyway they had stopped at. Ace didn't care which. She was just glad to round the corner of the ally and see the familiar blue box. Ianto used his key to unlock the door, holding it open for her. She was vaguely surprised to find that the console room was empty.
"He's looking for you too," Ianto answered her unasked question. "He should be back soon, as we were to meet here at twilight."
"I'm for the shower then." Kicking off the high heels, not caring where they landed, Ace almost ran for the door leading into the rest of the TARDIS. It would be hard enough to confess to the Professor exactly what she'd been doing without giving him a visual aid. She'd feel better after a shower and the shield of her own clothes.
A mug of steaming coffee was waiting for her when she entered the kitchen. She wore jeans and a cable-knit sweater topped off with her patched black jacket. She didn't wear it often anymore, but when she had opened her wardrobe it had been the first item of clothing she had laid hands on. The TARDIS, it seemed, had read her mood. After all these years it knew her almost as well as the Professor did.
"Thanks." She took a sip, closing her eyes to savor the taste. "If the ancient gods had tasted this they would have given up their nector and invited you to live on Mt Olympus with them."
"I get altitude sickness," Ianto joked as he took a sip of his own coffee. By unspoken agreement they slipped into a light conversation, avoiding all talk of the last two days until the Doctor could join them.
"I've returned, but I'm heading right back out again. She shouldn't have to... Ace!" Ace barely had time to put down her cup before arms wrapped around her tightly. She rested her head against the Doctor, taking comfort in the faint sound of his hearts beating.
"You have some serious explaining to do young lady." Relief warred with scolding in his voice.
"Ren..." The words stuck in her throat. Biting her lip she buried her face in the question marked jersey.
"Rena's dead, sir," Ianto supplied in a low voice. "Ace hasn't said much, but I think she was with the girl when it happened. They moved the others right away, probably afraid of being caught, and Ace stayed with them."
"Of course she did. Oh, Ace." The Doctor sighed deeply. "I wish we hadn't come here."
"We have to get them out, Professor." Pulling away from the support, Ace stood up straight and used her hand to wipe away a single tear. "There's twenty girls, and the youngest one isn't thirteen yet. If we don't get them out Barnes will..."
"We'll get them out." The Doctor's spoke solemnly, the words sounding like an oath. "Ianto?"
"If you have the address, Ace, I can hack into the archives and get the layout of the building."
"In the meantime you should catch forty winks, Ace. It's going to be a long night." The Doctor nodded in the direction of the doorway.
"I'm fine. I'll just have another mug of Ianto's coffee." It was a challenge to keep from yawning.
"Nonsense. Caffeine, no matter how good, is not a substitute for sleep. We won't want to leave until it's late anyway, as there will be less people guarding the girls. Right?"
"You won't leave without me," Ace insisted, folding her arms.
"We promise," Ianto answered for the both of them.
"Professor?" She needed to hear him say the words, otherwise she'd never be able to sleep. She wouldn't put it past him to decide that it was in her best interest to stay behind, and leave without her. He could be right devious at times. She had made a promise to Rena, and she intended to keep it.
"We won't stir a step without you. You, me and Ianto, we are like the Three Musketeers."
"All for one?" Ace asked with a sleepy half smile. Knowing that Ianto and the Professor would have a plan, including her, by the time she woke up made her feel much better.
"Indubitably," the Doctor answered.