Hello again, everyone, and welcome to The Spaces Between! This is a SEQUEL to Guardian of the Gates – if you have not read that, please do, because this will make very little sense otherwise! This is a crossover between Tamora Pierce's Immortal series and the BBC TV series Torchwood. You could still probably follow it if you know both fandoms, but if you don't then you'll need the background info, all of which is supplied in the narrative in Guardian!
For those of you who are not heeding my warning and are not going to read Guardian, then know this: Here be SPOILERS for CoE… although I think at this point, everyone's seen it. Still, best to warn anyway. Also, you're going to get (parts of) the prologue, but after that you'll be very confused; seriously, go read Guardian!
To all my previous readers, welcome back! This one has a bit of a different feel to it than Guardian, and you'll be glad to know that the ending is much, much happier! Guardian was mostly a set up for Spaces; things move a bit faster here than in Guardian.
Overarching Disclaimer: Jack, Ianto, Owen, Tosh, Gwen, the Doctor, Rose, weevils in general and any other Torchwood/Doctor Who characters/places/concepts/aliens mentioned belongs to the BBC, not me. Daine, Numair, Kitten, Alanna, George and Tortall, as well as any of the various gods and Immortals (who are not Jack) and concepts from the Immortals series and The Song of the Lioness series belong to Tamora Pierce. The Guardian of the Gates and the Nepthalae are mine, however.
I GIVE YOU…
THE SPACES BETWEEN
"And you always remember what you kill, don't you, Jack?"
Mister Ianto Jones, I do believe I have someone you want to see.
Won't you wake up?
That's it. Come on, now, Ianto Jones. Follow my voice. That's it. I have your Jack Harkness.
Yes, Captain Jack Harkness. Your Jack. Follow me, now. Follow me.
Ianto Jones, deceased, blinked in the starlight. There were—things, sensations. He was—somewhere. Confused, he smoothed his front and was startled to find that he was still wearing his gray vest. There was grass beneath his feet and stars above his head. Was he in a meadow? What the hell? It was dark, but it was real dark, not the dream-dark or the nothing-dark that had happened after Jack had begged him not to go.
"You're kidding, right? Tell me you're kidding," he said to no one in particular. The words whispered out into the warm night, and Ianto reveled in the sensations. Wasn't he supposed to be dead? Hadn't someone said Jack's—
"Ianto?" A voice that he had missed dearly rung out. "Ianto!" He turned.
Jack Harkness, in his ever-present greatcoat, was standing there in the night and he was a sight for sore—or, well, dead, anyway—eyes. His dark hair was tousled and his hands greasy, as if he'd been working with machinery all day. Blue eyes were wide and devastated as Jack stared at Ianto with an intensity that drowned out his previous confusion.
"Jack?" Ianto breathed, shocked. He made to take a step forward, questions burning in his throat, but an arm stopped him. Ianto blinked again and followed the arm up to a shoulder up to a torso, where he found a hunched old woman with a staff. She had a patch over her eye and a grizzly face, and she radiated power like nothing he had ever seen before.
"Not yet, dearie," she growled at him, and Ianto, vaguely affronted, stared at her. Who the hell was she? "We can make it better, Captain Harkness," she added, gravelly voice persuasive as she looked back at Jack. "We can bring them back. All of them."
What the hell?
Another voice broke the silence that followed this proclamation and Ianto turned, startled. There were three people standing beside a fire—how had he not noticed them?—and a woman, lovely with brown curly hair, shouted, "You leave him alone!" Ianto blinked again, realizing that she held something purple and serpentine to her chest. Was that a dragon? Where the hell was he? "Don't listen to her, Jack, it isn't permanent," she cried, "The things she brings back to life don't always stay that way!"
Right, well, that answered one question, Ianto thought wryly.
"Daine!" A tall, dark haired man gasped beside her. The woman shot him a fierce look.
"If you weren't a godborn, I'd kill you for that," the old woman said offhandedly, not taking her eyes from Jack. Ianto glanced back at her uneasily, wondering what a godborn was, and musing briefly that it didn't sound good. The old woman had brought him back to life? How? More importantly, why? "As it is, I might take your lover instead," the old woman threatened the girl with the dragon, and Ianto saw a short, stocky redheaded woman rest a hand on her hip. Was that a sword? "Your Lindhall Reed's little beast remained, did it not? It's the choice of the soul, no one else's."
I'm staying, Ianto thought fiercely, glancing back at Jack, who looked as though his heart was breaking. Oh, Jack, I'm staying. "Don't I have any say in this?" Ianto broke in quietly.
"Ianto," Jack whispered painfully, as though unable to say anything else. Ianto opened his mouth to reply, to try to soothe the broken look that had stolen over his lover's face - oh, Jack, he thought, bloody stupid Jack, who told him don't and Ianto still couldn't help himself - but Jack ripped his eyes away, shaking himself all over and then turning back to the old woman. "What have you done!" he shouted furiously, "What have you done to him? Your Dark God said that you couldn't touch the dead of my world. What the hell have you done?"
She didn't do anything, Ianto thought.
"She said your name," he answered dreamily, and Jack's eyes locked back onto him, burning blue, just like they had been when Ianto had died. "I heard it, so I followed. I thought you might've finally died. I looked for you, you know. I thought… in the spaces between, before you woke up each time. I might be able to see you."
Jack gave him a stricken look. "Ianto," he stuttered, "I'm sorry, I—"
"This isn't fair, goddess," the redheaded woman with the sword standing before the fire broke in quietly. Ianto glanced at her, half annoyed that she'd interrupted Jack, although he could tell by Jack's tone that he wasn't going to say anything helpful anyway.
"It was never a question of fairness, Lioness," the old woman, apparently a goddess, and what the hell, told her simply. "It was a question of—"
"Of manipulation!" Jack interrupted furiously, glaring, and Ianto suddenly understood. He was being used as a bargaining piece, although he didn't know what the bargain was. That woman called Lioness was right, he thought indignantly—this wasn't fair.
"Do not interrupt me, immortal—" Ianto could feel the old woman tensing beside him, and power wrapped around her like a blanket. He reached for his gun, but of course it was not there.
"Ianto, they want me to kill," Jack cried, turning back to him. Ianto's breath, unused for so long (and how long had it been since he'd breathed his last?) caught at the intensity. "They want me to kill a hundred civilians: men, women and children—not human, but not—"
"Then don't do it," Ianto interrupted immediately, locking eyes with Jack's desperate, mourning blue ones. "Don't listen to her, Jack."
"How dare you?" the old woman snarled, spinning to face him. The power rippled indignantly behind her, but Ianto was not afraid. "How dare you defy me—"
"I'm not in your jurisdiction," Ianto stated in his best receptionist's voice. I'll tie you up in red tape so tightly you won't be able to blink, he thought viciously; if you think you can manipulate Jack Harkness, then you've never met Ianto Jones. "I came here of my own free will, and I can leave of it as well." He turned back to Jack, and guilt filled him. "I love you. I'm sorry I left."
The goddess released him in disgust, and the world began to darken.
"I miss you," Jack whispered, and Ianto's heart, so long unused to beating and slowing, now, leaped for a moment. "I'm sorry, I—I—"
"It was never your fault, Jack." It was important that Jack knew this - even if Jack was a bastard, even if he'd never loved Ianto, the misery in his eyes was enough. Ianto did not want him suffering, and he did not like the loneliness that came off him in waves. "I'll look for you."
I'll find you.