In the Cards

Author: Milady Dragon

Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, if I did I would have treated it better.

Author' note: Welcome to the Dragon-Verse!

This first story takes place just after the boys take over Torchwood Cardiff, and is a short set-up for the rest of Series One. In it, Ianto Jones takes a rare day off, and meets someone he never expected to. Hope you enjoy!

16 April 2001

It was a slow Monday, and Ianto Jones found himself at a small coffee shop just off the Plass, sipping just-barely strong enough espresso and enjoying the unusual spring sunlight that streamed through the shop's large front window.

It had been a hectic time since he and Jack had cleared out the Torchwood One personnel and had taken over Torchwood Three. They'd severed all ties with London, much to Yvonne Hartman's anger, and together – along with Suzie Costello, the only person from One they'd kept, although Ianto didn't trust her – they'd managed to fend off one minor invasion and several large dumps of all sorts of junk in various places in the city. Add to that the Weevils, and Jack's beginning the set-up of an off-site care center for victims of the Rift, and it had been a busy time all around.

This was a rare calm day, and Ianto was determined to enjoy it. Cardiff was very different from Ddraig Llyn, and it was taking him some getting used to. The dragon felt as if he needed a chance to decompress, and to take a good look around what was now his home. Jack had baulked at being a man down, but even he could see the need for Ianto to learn about Cardiff. After all, it would be very embarrassing of he got lost on his way to a Rift flare…

Ianto was very aware of what he must look like to the people in the shop: a young businessman, wearing an impeccable and expensive suit, well-groomed and well-off. He smiled inwardly, wondering how they would react if they knew that he was actually a 2000-year-old dragon. Probably scream and run away, was the answer that came to him. But at least they couldn't go to the nearest knight; being the subject of a quest wasn't something Ianto enjoyed.

Unless, of course, the knight was Jack.

The dragon stifled a sigh, instead taking another sip of his espresso. He just didn't understand Jack Harkness, and there was a part of him that thought he might never. The captain could run hot…and then turn around and become distant and cold. Ianto knew what his own feelings were, and what they were becoming, but there was no way he'd ever admit them to the mercurial immortal.

Who knew he'd feel this way about an ephemeral?

But then, Jack was hardly that. He wouldn't die like ordinary mortals, and so he could be someone that Ianto could spend his own immortality with.

Oh well. Best to leave it.

He glanced out the window, watching the crowds walk by. A slight smile crossed his lips, and yet at the same time he felt a sadness settle within his heart. He was the last of his kind; there would be no more dragons. He was alone in a world of human beings.


Ianto turned; surprised that someone would be talking to him.

He was even more surprised at the fact that a girl stood there at his elbow.

She was blonde, and wore almost old-fashioned clothing. She smiled at him, but there was something off in her expression…and then he noticed her eyes. They were old, centuries of wisdom glowing within like a beacon, and Ianto took an even closer look.

His eyes widened, as he sensed the power in that small body. He bowed his head to her, recognizing her for what she was. "My lady," he said, gesturing to the seat opposite him. "To what do I owe the pleasure of a visit from one of your kind?"

Ianto didn't know what her race was called, only that it was as old as Time itself. Then it struck him just who this was. "You're the girl who sent Jack to find me," he murmured.

The girl nodded as she sat. "Sometimes our captain needs a bit of guidance." She set a deck of cards face down on the plastic table. "I'm here to give you a reading, too."

A shiver skittered up Ianto's spine. Jack would have called it superstitious, but then the dragon and the captain disagreed about certain things. Besides, he knew this child creeped Jack out as much as she was doing to Ianto currently. "Not that I'm not grateful," he said slowly, "but I'm not sure that's necessary…"

The girl opposite him simply smiled, picking up the cards. She began to turn them over, and despite his sudden fear of knowing what she was going to tell him, Ianto leaned over to see them.

The first card had him almost rearing back in his seat. It was of a dragon, a snow-capped mountain in the distance, the sun glittering in green scales. Ianto recalled that Jack had claimed to have seen this card in his own reading, over a year ago.

It was meant to be him.

Ianto twitched in his seat. He suddenly had the urge to run, even as the next card was turned, to join the first on the cheap plastic table: a Knight in armor, holding a sword. This was meant to be Jack, and it looked scarily like him.

Other cards followed. One was of a dark-haired woman, her face hidden by an overlarge Cavalier's hat, her hand resting on the hilt of a rapier at her waist. Another was of a second dragon; this one black, against the night sky with a full moon in the background. Another man, this one also wearing armor but bearing a chalice. The next, a figure hooded and cloaked in blue, features shadowed from view. A heart with four swords piercing it, blood dripping from the wounds.

And then…the Lovers.

Two nude men were locked in a passionate embrace. It stirred Ianto's heart to see it…and other feelings that he desperately wanted to hide.

The last card was Death. That one sent a wave of cold through the dragon.

"He will break your heart four times," the girl murmured. "But from those actions comes understanding. You are the soul of the new Torchwood. What he does only matters in the short term. Change will come in the long."

Ianto found himself caught in her spell, his mind turning over the vague words and trying to find the true meaning within them…but he suspected she was saying nothing but the strictest truth, couched in the magic of prophecy. His eyes met hers, and he saw the whole of Time within them. "Thank you," was all he could say. He was glad that his voice was so steady.

She gathered up her cards. "You are needed, Last One. Trust me when I say that you are more important than you know. The Captain will come to realize that, as well…although I cannot guarantee the time scale involved." She said that last part with a grin. "I'll come when you need me. And you will need me."

With those parting words, the ancient being in the shape of a little girl got up from the table, taking her cards with her.

Although, her words were left behind, tainting the air like rancid smoke.