The Last of His Kind
Author: Milady Dragon
Disclaimer: If you don't know by now that I don't own this...well, I don't. But I wish I did!
Author's note: Okay, a little explanation on this. I originally wrote this back for a Halloween Challenge on the Long Live Ianto comm on Livejournal. It was so popular it spawned an entire universe, the Dragon-Verse. I'm not sure why I never posted this here, but here goes. It's yet another AU from me, and I hope you guys like it. I have quite a bit of this universe written, and it's all in one-shots and short stories, and I've gone all the way up through "Countrycide" so there will be lots of updates on this universe until I catch up.
I'd appreciate you all letting me know if you like it. Thanks!
5 January 2000
It had all gone to hell.
Jack Harkness sat at the bar in the dimly lit pub, downing bourbon after bourbon in a futile effort to completely forget what had happened. It didn't help; not only didn't he stay drunk very long, but the image of Alex putting that gun to his head would be something that would live in Jack's nightmares for a long time to come – when he slept, of course. The clean-up had taken two days, and that was hampered by Yvonne Hartman's constant calling. She firmly believed that Jack himself had had something to do with it, even with the CCTV footage as evidence and Alex's own suicide note he'd sent via email, and she flatly refused to recognize Jack's claim on the leadership of the now decimated Torchwood Three.
Not that Jack cared, really.
He'd never wanted to be leader. He was an uncontracted operative, and that suited him very well. He didn't want to be tied down; he wanted to be free to leave when the Doctor finally showed up in an incarnation he could interact with. Being the leader of Torchwood Three wasn't in that plan.
So, he wasn't at all disappointed that Yvonne was sending her own team down from London to take over. He might not approve of Torchwood One's methods, but it was a choice between fighting for what Alex had wanted – and what Jack didn't – or letting Yvonne's puppets take over and leaving him free to leave when the time came.
Jack knocked back another bourbon, motioning to the barman for another. The man knew Jack, and knew Jack's inhuman tolerance for alcohol, and silently served him even though Jack had, at that point, drunk enough to float the proverbial battleship. Up until three days ago Jack hadn't drunk more than water and coffee for about one hundred years.
He was making up for lost time.
He almost spilt his drink down his shirt as the soft voice interrupted his increasingly muddled thoughts. He turned to tell whoever it was to fuck off, but the words died in his throat as he saw who'd called his name.
It was her.
The first time he'd seen her it had been back when Torchwood first approached him. She'd been the one to give him the news that the Doctor wouldn't be returning for at least one hundred years. She hadn't changed at all in the intervening years, and to be honest she disturbed Jack in ways he couldn't even begin to describe.
"What do you want?" he muttered, gulping down his bourbon and calling for another one.
The barman got one look at the little girl standing there, and promptly forgot that Jack existed.
The captain cursed, sliding off the bar stool and swaying dangerously. "I don't know what the hell you want," he slurred, "but I'm not interested in hearing anything you've gotta say."
The girl simply stared at him. There was something eerie in her gaze, and Jack found himself being steered toward a booth at the back of the pub.
She sat opposite him, her cards resting on the sticky surface. Jack watched her warily as she began to deal, not really wanting to look at the cards but not being able to resist.
The first card that came up was that weird one that looked like him. Jack gave a superstitious shiver, which wasn't like him at all. But there was something about this girl, something otherworldly and unexplainable, and to be honest she completely creeped him out.
He sipped what was left of his drink, and tried to studiously ignore the rest of the cards. He couldn't help but catch sight of one: a dragon, wings spread, green against the white of a snow-capped mountain.
"You need to find him," the girl's soft voice cut through the alcohol fog. "He is the last of his kind. He will be the soul of the new Torchwood you will build."
Jack shook his head, barking out a sarcastic laugh. "I think you have the wrong guy, princess. Me? Rebuild Torchwood? I don't think so."
The girl simply smirked. "The twenty-first century is when it all changes, and you need to be ready."
He shivered again. Those were Alex's last words. He really wanted another drink.
"You need to go north, and you will find him. Do not be afraid."
"I can't leave – "
"The one you're waiting on will arrive before the turning of the decade," she answered. "But you must get Torchwood ready before you go. This one will be the leader when the time comes."
Then she flipped another card over: Jack couldn't help but notice this one…it was the Lovers.
Instead of the traditional man and woman embracing, it was two men; they were drawn so close together it was difficult to tell which one ended and the other began. Jack couldn't make out faces; both figures were facing the other's shoulder and neck.
"You need to find him," the girl continued. "He is important. He is the last of his kind, and without him you will never remain free long enough to meet the one you wait for."
That didn't sound good at all. Jack had managed to keep on the good side of Torchwood because of his agreement to work with them. He'd been an uncontracted operative for almost his entire time on Earth. Knowing that the Doctor was coming some day was perhaps the one thing that had kept him going , kept him from telling them all the hell with it and leaving.
He knew he couldn't trust Yvonne Hartman. While Jack had no idea just how comprehensive the records on him were at Torchwood One, she had to know he was somehow different from anyone else. She could conceivably use Alex's murder spree and suicide to bring Jack in.
Perhaps he should get out of town…
"So," he said, making up his mind now that the alcohol haze had faded, "just where do I need to go?"
The girl smiled.
15 October 2000
Jack had no idea how he'd ended up in the tiny Welsh village of Ddraig Llyn, and yet there he was.
It was truly beautiful country. He'd traveled north, like the girl had said, but beyond that she hadn't really been very helpful. If Jack was honest with himself, he'd left Cardiff to get away from Torchwood, and this so-called 'last of his kind' was simply a reason to escape. He really hadn't thought that much about it, and had let his instinct lead him.
It had eventually led him to Ddraig Llyn.
It was nestled in a valley in Snowdonia, on the shores of a small lake. Perhaps 90% of the people only spoke Welsh, which made it a problem for Jack, but there were enough bilingual people in the village that he could always find someone to help him out if needed. It had taken a week for most of the villagers to accept his presence, and Jack figured that had more to do with a certain innkeeper named Ianto Jones than to Jack's natural charm.
Ianto Jones. The man was even sexier than the name. After the second day, he'd realized that charming the Welshman wasn't going to get him anywhere, so he decided to flirt instead, and see where it got him. Ianto flirted back just fine, but there was something holding the younger man back…and Jack couldn't figure out what it was. He could tell that Ianto was interested, but he simply wouldn't make a move. It was a mystery…one that was keeping Jack in Ddraig Llyn in the first place.
That, and the fact that they were so isolated that he seriously doubted Torchwood would even think to look there.
Jack had taken up trail walking. It wasn't as exciting as chasing after Weevils, but it kept him active while he tried to figure out a certain innkeeper. Plus, the mountains were simply breathtaking, and while Jack would never exactly be a back-to-nature sort of guy, even he could appreciate the peace and quiet of his surroundings.
He climbed the trail up the mountain, its name something he couldn't pronounce and didn't even try. He'd had enough problems with Ddraig Llyn, and it made him feel a bit guilty for not at least trying to learn Welsh in the entire time he'd been living in Wales. It was something he got teased about, but it was a good natured teasing, as the townsfolk gradually accepted him into their midst.
The wind cut through his coat, but Jack didn't mind. It was bracing, and he took a deep breath, as if to scour out his lungs. It was getting dark, the sun setting behind the mountains, the low light casting long shadows along the trail Jack was currently on. He'd need to be heading back; if it was cold now, it would get bitter when the sun finally went down.
He was just turning when a low growl sounded just beyond the rise he was on.
That old familiar adrenaline rush surged through Jack's veins as he unconsciously moved toward the source of the sound. As he neared the rise, the noise turned into something else.
It was singing.
The voice was deep, and had an underlying growl to it. The words were in Welsh, and despite what should have been a heavy tone, it was lilting and soft…and very sad.
Jack almost turned around and left whoever it was to their music. But his curiosity got the better of him, and he stepped forward enough where he could make out the singer.
He'd thought it was one of the villagers, coming up on the mountain trail for privacy.
He was wrong.
The creature sat on an outcrop, curled up almost like a cat with its four legs tucked underneath a muscled body. A large head on a long neck stared out over the valley, jaws with sharp teeth moving as the beast sang. Bat-like wings curled up on the hunched back, and the sunlight glittered on green scales, making it look as if it was covered in emeralds.
It was a dragon.
Jack stared; he couldn't help it. He was seeing a creature out of legend, something that shouldn't exist. He was struck at just how beautiful it was, and how much it just belonged there…
It crossed his mind that, if he was still in Torchwood and they'd known about this dragon, then chances were he'd have been sent to capture it…or even kill it. It was the Torchwood way: anything strange or unusual or alien was instantly theirs to do with what they wanted. In that moment Jack realized just how evil Torchwood was.
And so, he made himself comfortable, there on the mountainside, and listened to a dragon as it sang across the valley.
He could feel the emotion in the song, and it broke his heart. He'd always known that he was alone, but this…this was the ultimate loneliness. When the song finally ended, Jack actually had tears in his eyes, and the almost undeniable urge to go up and put his arms around the dragon.
Instead, he sat and stared.
"I know you're there."
Jack almost jumped out of his skin at the low, rumbling comment, and he didn't know if it was because the dragon was aware of him…or if it was because it spoke English.
A pair of blue eyes, slitted like a cat's, was regarding him closely. They almost looked…amused.
"Sorry," Jack found himself apologizing. "I was on the trail and I heard your song – "
"I didn't mean to startle you," the dragon answered. "I usually come up here as the sun sets." Was that a smile? "You can come closer...I won't eat you."
The captain wasn't actually afraid of that…although if he'd come back after being eaten was anyone's guess. He made his way toward the seated creature, leaning against the stone near the dragon's front claws. "Captain Jack Harkness," he introduced himself, adding a bit of a flirtatious edge to the greeting. "And you are?"
"My name is unpronounceable to you, I'm afraid," the dragon answered, the amusement in its eyes coming out into that deep, Welsh-accented voice. "You're taking my presence quite well, considering that I'm certain you've never seen a dragon before."
"How can you be so sure I've never seen a dragon?" Jack challenged lightly, even though he really hadn't.
"I am the last of my kind," the humor was gone, replaced by the sadness that had infused its song. "And I have been for at least a thousand years."
The words sent a chill through Jack. He is the last of his kind. He will be the soul of the new Torchwood you will build. The girl's prophecy rang in his mind. Could she have meant this dragon? How was that possible?
How could a dragon be the soul of Torchwood?
Yvonne Hartman would eat it alive…
"I'm sorry," Jack said quietly.
"Do not be. All things pass…in time. And as long as there is one of us, my people will be remembered."
"How long? Will you live, I mean."
The dragon sighed. "I am as close to being immortal as I can be. Certainly, there are ways you could kill me…and no, I don't intend to tell you how." The last part held a bit of the beast's previous humor. "So…what brings you to Ddraig Llyn? It certainly couldn't have been for the wildlife…"
Jack grinned. He found himself quite liking the dragon. "A bit of an escape, I suppose." He couldn't tell it about Torchwood, and about aliens. He doubted it would understand. "Wait…are you a boy dragon, or a girl dragon?"
A rumbling sound came from deep within its chest. "I get the feeling it really wouldn't matter to you, Captain, since you have apparently flirted with me already."
"You're right, but I'd kinda like to get the pronoun right in my head, as it were."
"Would you like me to lift my tail?"
Jack couldn't help but laugh. "Only if you want to, but would you still respect me in the morning?"
The dragon joined in with the laughter. "I am a male of my kind," he finally answered as his laughter died. "Thank you, Captain. I have not laughed like that in a very long time."
"My pleasure. Would you object if I came up here to visit while I'm in the area?" Jack found himself hoping the dragon would agree.
The long snout turned, and blue eyes regarded him. "For some reason, I find that I trust you. I know we have just met, but my heart tells me I can."
"Do you trust your heart?"
"Always, Captain. Always."