Author's Note: The warnings for this story contain spoilers. Skip them if you want to, but I should tell you that this story is m-preg and warn you that it's pretty dark in some places.
Word Count: ~ 64.000
Summary: There are murders being committed in Torchwood's name – again. Only this time, UNIT seems to be mixed up in it as well. All leads point towards Project Horizon, a collaboration between UNIT and Torchwood One that was dropped decades ago. The strain on the team increases when Jack and Ianto's relationship faces a crisis, only made worse by Ianto discovering that he's pregnant. With UNIT refusing to give any details about Project Horizon and Martha and Owen caught between the frontiers when Ianto decides to keep the baby, can Torchwood find the killer with the unexpected assistance of John Hart?
Characters: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato, Gwen Cooper, John Hart, Martha Jones, Rhys Williams, Doctor (10), Andy Davidson, OCs
Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/John Hart, Gwen/Rhys, Jack/Doctor (hinted), Jack/John Hart (unrequited), Martha Jones/Doctor (unrequited)
Spoiler: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Meat, Reset, Dead Man Walking, A Day In The Death, Adam / Doctor Who: Rise Of The Cybermen, The Age Of Steel, Army Of Ghosts, Doomsday, Utopia, The Sound Of Drums, The Last Of The Time Lords, Partners In Crime
Setting: starts after A Day In The Death
Warnings: miscarriage, violence, torture, pregnant person in danger, talk about abortion, talk about canon character death, language
Contains: Sex, m-preg
Author's Note: Written for tw_classic_bb. I planned on writing this for so long it feels like forever. To finally have done so is a huge relief.
Beta: danian beta'ed the English version and Inja Morgan the German one. Both of you have been so, so fantastic and fast and patient with me. Thank you! Also, Eleanor Harkness-Jones checked the summary on a very, very short notice.
Disclaimer: I'm not making money with this fanfic. The tv-shows Doctor Who and Torchwood and the characters appearing within them belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.
PART 1: The End Of The Road
Jack Harkness didn't see himself as an unreasonable man. In his long, immortal life, he'd learned that change was necessary to move on and that he should at least listen to someone giving him advice or asking him for a favour. He could be convinced to see things in a different way if the reasons he was given were sound.
But when General Todd Leslie – Torchwood liaison officer for UNIT – sent Jack an e-mail early on a Monday morning that, aside from a huge pile of paperwork on his desk, had started out quite well actually, and asked him for something he called "a tiny favour", Jack's answer was clear. And when he called Leslie to give him a piece of his mind and only his secretary Ricardo answered, Jack's mood went from slightly irritated to downright foul. "No," he said and got up from his chair, putting one hand on his hip in a stance that made him look determined and not to be swayed. Unfortunately, it didn't work via the phone.
"He's already on his way, Captain Harkness," Ricardo chirped. "It was decided that-"
"I want to speak to your boss," Jack interrupted him rudely.
Ianto chose that moment to appear in Jack's office door, a questioning look on his face and still in his coat. Snowflakes were dusting his shoulders and dark hair, giving Jack a hint as to how the weather top-side was looking. He waved Ianto closer.
Ricardo was just as adamant as Jack, telling him for the fourth time, "I'm afraid General Leslie is in a meeting."
"I don't care. Do you have any idea who you're talking to? This is important. I want to speak to Leslie, now!"
"The General left firm instructions not to be dis-"
"I'm not in the mood, Ricardo. You sound like a nice, intelligent boy. Now get me General Leslie or I swear to the Gods ..."
At this point, the phone was snatched from Jack's hand and Ianto, bent towards Jack's side of the desk, took over with a charming smile and a calm voice. "Good morning, Ricardo! This is Ianto." He laughed. "Yes, he can be that way."
Jack scowled and his now free hand mirrored its counterpart on his hip. Ianto came around the desk, shushing Jack with a finger on his lips when he wanted to complain.
Jack pointed in accusation to the e-mail displayed on his computer screen. A Dr. Reuben Peralta "would be pleased" to use the Torchwood archives for his current research on various projects. Jack was annoyed that UNIT hadn't even asked them if it was alright to invite the good doctor over. They just took command, like they always did, treating his Hub as their own. To make matters worse, the visit was announced on short notice. Peralta was due to arrive this afternoon.
Ianto said, "I see. The problem is that this visit wasn't cleared with us beforehand. I'm sure it's a misunderstanding. It would really help my Captain if he could talk to your General." He smiled. "You know how those military men are."
"Right. Thank you, Ricardo." Ianto handed the phone back and Jack could hear the annoying melody of the on-hold music sounding out of it. "He's going to ask the General to step out of the meeting for a few minutes." Ianto leaned up and kissed Jack's lips. Jack's free hand cupped one freshly shaven, smooth cheek and then Ianto pulled away. "Good morning." With that, he left for the coffee machine. Jack watched him go and sank back into his chair with a smile.
He didn't have to wait for long, since only a minute later, General Leslie barked into the receiver, "Captain Harkness, you couldn't wait for an hour?"
Jack pulled his eyes away from Ianto making coffee and focused on the phone. "Listen, General, with all due respect to our treaty … I'd like to have some kind of warning before you send one of your men over here."
"Dr. Peralta was very insistent."
"He could have called, asked for permission … this is still Torchwood property. Surely I don't have to remind you of our right to refuse him access?"
Leslie sighed deeply and his voice became less aggressive and more persuasive. "Frankly, Captain, Peralta took this out of my hands. Before I knew it, I had signed the necessary papers and had Ricardo send you an e-mail. Peralta is a bit … difficult to handle but a genius, so we need him."
"I don't hear a reason for me to let him into my base."
"Do me that favour, Captain. Please. One more week with that pain in the ass in my department and I'll surely shoot him."
Despite his anger, Jack had to stifle a laugh. "The only things he'll have access to are the archives and the medical database," he said.
"Agreed," Leslie answered.
"He won't cut into current investigations and I don't have any responsibility whatsoever for his life when he decides to interfere."
"Copy that. He just needs a week, Captain. After that, you're free. And I'll owe you one because if he finds what he's looking for in your archives, he'll finally leave my department and will join the UNIT base in Nevada."
"Yay for you," Jack answered.
"Indeed," Leslie said and hung up.
The early mornings before the others arrived were always the best in Ianto's opinion. Everything in the main Hub was still calm, the only sounds the water trickling down the sculpture in the middle of the cavernous room and the squawks of Myfanwy coming from her nest high above the floor. Owen, Gwen and Tosh's desks seemed strangely abandoned, but Ianto knew that would change soon. It was a bit chilly down here, Ianto decided, and made a mental note to turn up the heating later as Gwen and Tosh would without a doubt complain. The water coming from the outside and running down the sculpture through the Hub's roof smelled fresh and snowy, filling the Hub with a crisp air. This morning, only one month before Christmas, Cardiff had awoken to the first snow of the year.
Ianto was adding milk to Jack's coffee, when two strong arms wrapped around his waist and Jack's body heat embraced him. "What would I do without you?" Jack asked and nudged Ianto's arse, reminding him of the fact that they hadn't been able to meet up for the last few nights because Jack had wanted all of them to go home and get some sleep ... or in Owen's case, watch a season of Lost. It had been an exhausting week. Ianto had invited Jack along each night but he'd refused. Ianto hadn't pushed, Jack needed some time to himself every once in a while. Ianto didn't take it personally and Jack always made up for it. It worked. They worked.
Lately, Ianto had caught himself thinking that thought more than once. He wondered if he should step up their relationship some more. Dating and sleeping in each other's bed had been fine for the past eight months, but Torchwood took away a lot of the time they were supposed to spend together. The first time that Ianto had caught himself thinking that moving in together would be nice had been a few months ago. By now, that thought had taken on a life of its own and it strained against the bonds of Ianto's knowledge that Jack would refuse, that he would only set himself up for getting hurt.
But then again, in moments like this, it didn't seem that unrealistic.
Ianto handed Jack his coffee over his shoulder. "You would certainly learn to live without me."
Jack took the mug, keeping one arm wrapped around him, and Ianto turned around in the embrace. Jack sipped his coffee. "Hardly." Then he captured Ianto's lips in a lingering kiss, involving just a bit of tongue, indicating that the time for self-imposed loneliness was over.
"Should I get one of the guest quarters ready?" Ianto asked.
"Will he sleep here?" Jack asked, pained.
"Did you even read the e-mail? Or did you just call in a huff as soon as you saw that we'd have an unexpected guest?"
Jack sighed. "Kinda," he admitted.
"Tch," Ianto tutted with a smile and rightened Jack's collar. "He wants personal quarters in this base because he tends to work late into the night and early in the morning."
"Oh, joy! Well, he'll certainly have to expect me to run around naked at night because this is my place."
Ianto laughed. "You never run around naked, Jack."
"I just might," Jack grumbled. Then he grinned lewdly, his blue eyes twinkling. "Who knows? He might like it." His hand strayed to Ianto's arse almost subconsciously while he answered, "Yes, get one of the quarters ready. The most hideous one you can find."
Ianto made a show of being insulted. "Excuse me? I refurbished those quarters while you were gone. None of them is hideous."
"The smallest one, then," Jack corrected himself.
When the team arrived, Jack summoned them all into the boardroom. Ianto had prepared coffee and some pastries, knowing that at least Gwen loved to snack first thing when she arrived. True to his predictions, she was the first who fell into her seat next to Jack at the head at the table and snagged a Danish. Tosh took her time to settle in the seat next to Ianto before she grabbed a bagel from the plate. Owen just glared at the pastries. Ianto felt a bit bad for laying them out like that. Owen had quite liked them before … Ianto sighed. Before he'd become a dead man walking. Literally.
Jack was looking gravely around, ignoring the pastries. A sign of his annoyance. "We'll have a guest from UNIT arriving this afternoon."
Gwen's face brightened immediately. "Martha?"
"No, unfortunately not."
Owen's dark eyes were still looking longingly from the mug of coffee in Tosh's hands to the pastries and back again. "Who is it then?"
"Dr. Reuben Peralta," Jack answered.
At Owen's questioningly raised eyebrow, Ianto chipped in, "He's a specialist in the field of regenerative medicine using alien technology. Not that that's any use since he can't practice his methods openly, but UNIT's quite proud of his achievements."
Owen muttered, "Wiki-Ianto." He earned himself a glare for that.
Jack continued, "He's going to do some research in our archives and medical database. Ianto and Owen will have the honour of being his contact persons."
"Yay!" Owen said with a bored sigh.
"He'll be gone after a week. Maybe sooner if we're lucky."
Gwen narrowed her green eyes, watching Jack closely. "You don't want him here."
Tosh nodded at her and addressed Jack, "You don't trust him."
"I don't," Jack said, "because he's UNIT. Martha's different, because I know her, but that guy … General Leslie seemed eager to get rid of him and he's not easy to annoy."
Under his breath, Ianto added, "As proven by the fact that UNIT assigned him to deal with you."
Jack mock-glared at him, but a smile was tugging at his lips. "So, we value our relationship with UNIT." It was obvious he didn't. "Let's play nice and maybe this will be over before the week's up."
Dr. Reuben Peralta seemed to be in his late fifties. It was obvious that he looked after himself. His body was muscular and his short, grey hair made his handsome face only more distinguished. Ianto had heard Gwen and Tosh giggle over his picture and whisper something about George Clooney and he thought that they weren't that far off. Peralta smiled at him, showing off perfect teeth, and thanked the cab driver before joining Ianto at the edge of Roald Dahl Plass. "Mr. Jones, I presume?" he asked. His voice was deep and smooth.
"That's quite right," Ianto answered. "Hello, Dr. Peralta. Welcome to Cardiff."
Peralta looked around, smiling at the impressive Millennium Centre and the crowded Plass where tourists and natives were going about their business. A thin sheet of snow covered the pavement and the steps leading down into the well of the Plass, but it had stopped snowing quite some time ago. The landmark water tower reflected the winter sun. Ianto led Peralta down to the edge of the bay, allowing him a minute to take in the crisp sea air, before he directed him to the tourist office nestled into one of the pier's corners.
"I heard you were using a tourist office as a cover," Peralta said with a smile when Ianto unlocked the door and led him inside. "I thought it was a joke."
"It isn't," Ianto answered and locked the door behind them. The office would stay closed today. He didn't have much time to man it anymore. Not since he'd become a fully fledged field agent. Sometimes he missed it, though. Missed organizing the pamphlets and catalogues on the shelves or dusting off all the tid-bits tourists would buy as a memory of their visit.
He pushed the red button hidden underneath the counter and led Peralta through the hidden passageway to the elevator.
"This is astonishing," Peralta said. "How did this base develop?"
"I could give you the files."
"That would be lovely."
While they waited for the elevator to take them down, Ianto said, "The Captain sends his regards. Unfortunately, a Weevil incident came up so he can't be here to welcome you."
Peralta chuckled. "I bet he was crushed."
When the entrance gate rolled aside to lead them into the main Hub, Ianto motioned for Peralta to go first. Peralta looked around the cavernous space curiously, his eyes following the water tower up to the ceiling high above them. "Quite impressive."
"We like it," Ianto said with a nod.
They ascended the stairs leading them to the working area. Gwen and Tosh were already waiting near Tosh's desk.
Peralta smiled brightly at them. "But not as impressive as the ladies." He caught first Tosh then Gwen's hand for a kiss. "I wish we had such beautiful women at UNIT. You make me consider a permanent transfer."
Gwen said, "Aw."
Tosh blushed and tucked a few errant strands of dark hair behind her ears.
Ianto took it upon himself to introduce them, "Gwen Cooper and Toshiko Sato. Our doctor Owen Harper went with the Captain. I'm sure they'll be back soon."
Peralta said, "I certainly hope so."
"I'll show you to your room," Ianto suggested and Peralta nodded. Just before they left the main Hub, Ianto looked over his shoulder at Gwen and Tosh and they rolled their eyes at him. Gwen mouthed 'Too much!' and Tosh agreed with a vigorous nod.