The Last of His Kind
Author: Milady Dragon
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, if I did I would have treated it better.
Author's note: Okay, so this is the last chapter of this first story of my Dragon-Verse. I'm going to post the shorts I have written under the title "Dragon-Verse Series One" which will cover my rewrites and codas for Torchwood S1. It will start with a short that will link this story to my coda for"Everything Changes". So, look for that most likely tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone who have read this, and reviewed and alerted. Hope you stay around for more!
24 October 2000
Jack stared. He could kick himself for not thinking 'shape-changer'. But really, what little he knew about dragons didn't say anything about them being able to take on human form, so it had been a conclusion that had never even crossed his mind.
Ianto had turned back to the rack, pulling off something. "Here," he said, passing it over. "I was…trying to find something to dress you in. Your clothes were ruined, and when I took you back to the village I wanted you to keep what little dignity death left behind." He brushed past Jack. "Come back to the living area when you're done."
Jack held up the outfit Ianto had chosen. It was a rich blue-gray tunic made from velvet, with silver threads at cuff and hem. The trousers matched, and were made from the same material. If Jack was right, the clothes were exactly the same shade as his now-filthy greatcoat.
He quickly dressed, wishing that Ianto had left him at least some socks to wear. The cave floor was freezing under his feet, but the rest of him was warm under the heavy velvet. The ensemble was distinctly old; if he had to guess, he would have said 10th Century. He took a look at the other garments hanging from the rack; all of them were as old, if not older, than what Jack was wearing. He had to wonder if Ianto had worn any of them, since the tunic was a bit tight around the shoulders and chest, while the trousers seemed to fit a bit better.
He made his way out of the hoard chamber, and up into the living area. Ianto was waiting for him; as if having read his mind, he handed Jack a pair of thick wool socks, and the older man was more than happy to put them on right away. A familiar scent met his nostrils, and he grinned. "Is that coffee?"
Ianto nodded. "There's no electricity up here, but I've mastered making coffee over a fire. It won't be quite as good…"
He'd folded the duvet then carefully set it back on the pile of pillows. Jack realized, just by looking around, that his host was some sort of hedonist; the pillows, the furnishings, the clothes, everything spoke of a person who enjoyed the finer things in life. He supposed that, after living as long as the dragon had, that only made sense.
Jack was still surprised at the turn of events. Ianto Jones…was the dragon that Jack considered a friend. "Why didn't you tell me you and the dragon were the same person?"
Ianto had reached into the fire, pulling a metal pot from within using his bare hand. Jack had to fight the urge to run over and check the young man for burns. Apparently being a dragon meant he was somewhat impervious to heat.
He motioned Jack to the only chair, handing the older man a steaming mug of coffee. "Quite possibly for the same reason you didn't tell me that you come back after death," he answered, perching on the edge of the fire pit.
Jack chuckled. "Yeah, it is a bit out there."
Ianto arched an eyebrow at him. "A bit? Jack, in my experience the dead don't come back to life. Admittedly, I haven't been out of this valley much in the last five hundred years…" He shrugged. "In the circumstances, I think you can forgive me for thinking you were some kind of ghost."
Jack barked a laugh. "Well, in my experience dragons are mythological creatures." He took a sip of the coffee; Ianto was right, it wasn't quite on par with the coffee he'd had at the inn, but it warmed going down. "And there was nothing in what stories I have heard that said you could change your shape."
"Touché," Ianto answered, dipping his head. "Although it gave me the unique opportunity to hear about you from two different directions, as it were. It's made me realize what a complicated person you are, and I think it's given me a respect of your circumstances that I might not normally have had."
As Ianto spoke, Jack could hear a combination of the Welshman who'd flirted with him and the dragon who'd befriended him. The more he was in Ianto's company, the more he was surprised that he hadn't picked up on it before. Yes, he'd known there were similarities, but he'd chalked it up to both of them being inherently Welsh.
Then he caught himself; after living in Wales for so long, Jack seemed to be stereotyping. So much for his enlightened 51st Century upbringing.
"It seems to me," Ianto went on, "that you have an important decision to make…to either go along with this prophecy you've been given, or to say hell with it and go back to Cardiff empty-handed."
"Or I can run away," Jack added, just to see Ianto's reaction.
He got one; the man rolled his eyes. "I told you…you aren't a coward. You might have talked yourself into believing you're one, but you really aren't."
"I think you might be wrong about me."
"And I think you might be wrong about yourself."
Well, that was Jack told.
"Do you also want to know what I think?"
"I think you're going to tell me."
"I think that the reason you were so intent on coming up here was to tell me that you were leaving. And that you'd decided you weren't going to ask me along."
All right, so he was perceptive. Jack couldn't deny it, and said so.
"And it never occurred to you that I might have decided to accompany you?"
"You couldn't tell me that before I walked up a wet mountain and killed myself?"
Ianto cringed. "I couldn't. You hadn't told me about it yet, you only told the dragon."
He did have a point.
"I was thinking about what you said," Ianto went on, "about how bad Torchwood is and how that strange girl of yours was so certain you'd remake it. I honestly have never given any thought to aliens outside of science fiction novels I've read, but it does make sense that there's more out there than us. And, if they're anything like humans, then there's bad and good."
Jack nodded, but didn't speak. He thought about his Doctor, and all that particular alien had done for the planet…and the universe.
A look of wonder crossed the other man's face. "Whole other worlds to explore…but, be that as it may, it's worthwhile to try to protect our planet. I'd say you should be proud of the work you do, but I know you aren't."
"That's not exactly true," Jack denied. "I'm proud of the work…just not the way the Powers that Be want it done."
He inclined his head at the correction. "While I don't know why your mysterious girl would think I would be useful to you, I'm not one to argue against prophecy. Besides, who doesn't want to be a part of something bigger than themselves?"
Jack thought he was being a bit naïve and idealistic, but didn't say so.
"And if I'm completely truthful," Ianto went on, "I've been away from the world for a very long time. This could be my chance to get back into things again."
This wasn't the way Jack had wanted this conversation to go. He'd meant to come to say goodbye, not to have an eager volunteer. And yet, at the same time, there was something about Ianto Jones – and not the fact that he was a creature out of legend – that encouraged Jack that he could, indeed, change Torchwood for the better. That, if he only had Ianto with him, he might be about to make Torchwood into something that even the Doctor might approve of.
And really, when it came down to it, the only thing that really mattered to Jack was the Time Lord's good opinion.
His major problem was, was the way he felt about Ianto. Jack knew himself, and he was well aware that the man could very well become very important to him. Having him around all the time was like putting temptation in his way, although it helped that Ianto had so far not showed much interest, despite his claiming that he was playing hard to get.
But then, he hadn't actually pulled away in the kitchen…
He recalled the card – the Lovers. There had been two men on that card. Could that have meant himself and Ianto? Jack didn't lie to himself: he was attracted to Ianto, very much so. If they were meant to become lovers…would he be able to leave once the Doctor did return?
Or maybe he was just over-thinking the entire situation.
Ianto was watching him, his blue eyes glittering in the firelight. There were so many things he wanted to know about the dragon and his human persona. He wanted to ask about just how Ianto could sense him, and what he'd meant about magic bringing Jack back. Of course, Jack didn't believe in magic; but he did believe firmly in Clarke's Law. He was certain that some sort of science was beyond his constant resurrections, and nothing as vague as magic. And Jack was also certain that magic wasn't behind Ianto's shape-changing, that he simply thought that way because of how he had lived.
He supposed it didn't really matter. Only the Doctor could explain what had happened to Jack, and not some hocus-pocus. He realized he was denigrating Ianto's nature by dismissing him like that, but Jack had seen enough to recognize superstition when he saw it. Perhaps he'd be doing Ianto a favor by getting him out of this valley and out into the real world.
"You're determined then?" Jack finally asked. "You're going to put yourself right in the line of fire, so to speak. And if Torchwood London finds out about you…"
"I believe I have a good idea of what might happen. But more importantly, I believe you can do this. I have faith in you." The emotions burned in Ianto's blue eyes, and for a second Jack thought he could see the slitted pupils of the dragon as well.
A warmth spread through Jack's chest at such confidence in him. The only other person who'd thought like that about him had been Rose.
Maybe there was another person whose good opinion he wanted.
He only hoped he could live up to that.
31 October 2000
A chill wind cut across the Plass, battling with the warmth of the sun for dominance over Cardiff. Jack Harkness strode toward the invisible lift, his coat whipping around him and casting a glamour of invincibility about him. The near-silent footsteps of Ianto Jones matched him step for step, the dragon in man form wearing a charcoal suit and a deep red shirt and black tie, looking all the world like a businessman taking a constitutional toward the Quay.
Jack didn't look to his right where Ianto was; just knowing he was there was giving Jack more confidence than he'd thought possible. He didn't know why Ianto affected him like that, except that his faith in Jack was pretty unwavering. The captain had no idea how he'd earned that, or just what Ianto saw in him, and he was afraid to ask, not wanting to shatter the illusion. It was enough that he wasn't alone, and it crossed his mind that the girl had known what she was saying when she'd given him that reading. That he did, indeed, need Ianto Jones. That knowledge shook him. He didn't want to have to need anyone.
But, for now, he'd accept it. He just had to keep his eye on his goal, and that was the day that the Doctor would come back. In the meantime, he'd do the best he could, in order not to disappoint the one person who believed in him utterly.
That would come later, and Jack already didn't like the sick feeling that thought made him.
Together, Captain Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones, the Last of His Kind, stepped onto the paving stone that was Torchwood Three's invisible lift, and although Jack didn't know it at the time, they were stepping into history.