A Time of Rest - Chapter Three
Author: Milady Dragon
Disclaimer: I don't own it, sorry.
Author's note: And here we are to the end of this part of the Dragon-Verse. Thanks to everyone who have supported this story, either by reading, commenting, favorite'ing, or alerting, you are all very much appreciated.
I thought to go on into Dragon-Verse Series Two, and then realized that I couldn't, because there are some things going to happen that rely on at least one of the future stories I have written. Now, since I haven't posted any of those future stories here, there could very well be some confusion about certain events that do occur in Series Two. So, I'm going to go ahead and start posting the future stories first - there are three of them, two multi-chaptered ones, and then get into Series Two. So watch out for those next.
And now, on to the end. Thanks again!
14 June 2008
The week went by quickly…almost too quickly.
Jack couldn't recall the last time he'd actually had a vacation, and this was as close to one as he could think of. He spent all of his time with his family, and his mate, just relaxing and letting the events of that horrible year fade into the back of his mind. It didn't all go away, and Jack knew it would be a long time before he fully recovered, but he had the love and support of those around him, and it made the burden a bit easier to bear.
He wasn't the only one with bad memories. There were a couple of nights where he would be awakened by Ianto's sharp movements, and Jack had simply taken his large head into his lap, stroking the fine scales until the nightmare passed. Helping Ianto made Jack feel a bit less needy the times when he'd come out of the murkiness of restless sleep to hear a soft song whispering around him.
They kept in touch with Toshiko, calling her every day. Ianto had bemoaned the fact that the technician had taken all the computer gear that she'd used over that year back to the Hub, wanting to download every piece of information she'd gathered into Torchwood's mainframe for posterity. The dragon had claimed they would have been able to keep track of what was going on back in Cardiff with that gear, to which Jack had simply rolled his eyes and had asked his mate if he'd always been this controlling or was this something new he'd just discovered.
Ianto had sniffed and hadn't deigned to comment.
That Friday morning they all met for breakfast, as they had every morning. Alice had decided that she and Steven were going back to Cardiff that day, and had offered Jack and Ianto a ride back. Toshiko and Owen weren't expecting them back until Saturday, and Kathy was helping out as she could, being a working copper and all. According to Toshiko the Rift had been unbelievably quiet, but Jack wasn't surprised; even though the paradox had been reversed, the Rift was still a time/space event, and it had been drained by the storms that had destroyed Cardiff due to the twisting and tearing of the paradox. It would take a bit to recharge, and then they would be swamped. There was no real telling how long that would take.
"It's going to feel strange going back to work Monday," Alice said, taking a sip of coffee. She made an indecent noise; like father, like daughter, at least when it came to Ianto's coffee. "I'm not sure I even remember what my job is!"
Ianto nodded in understanding. "It's a good thing Jack stores his passcodes in his wrist strap, or else he'd be locked out of the Hub."
"Hey!" Jack exclaimed. "I thought you said you didn't like me doing that!"
The dragon rolled his eyes good-naturedly. "I think I might make an exception in this case. After all, we can't all have a memory as good as mine."
"And I suppose you know what your passcodes are after a year?"
Jack wanted to laugh at Ianto's look of indignation. "Of course I do."
Alice snorted into her coffee mug. "He's got you there, Dad."
Jack pouted. "Even my daughter is ganging up with the dragon against me."
"That's because the dragon is awesome," Ianto said primly. Jack wondered how Ianto could keep a straight face, since that caused the entire table to crack up.
"Steven and I expect you and Ianto to come over for dinner some time, Dad," Alice said after the hilarity had subsided.
Jack's heart warmed at the invitation. "Rift willing, count on it."
She looked at him seriously. "And I don't want the pair of you to be so overwhelmed that you completely forget you have family, okay?"
He opened his mouth to deny it would happen, but Jack realized that, quite possibly, it would at some point. He and Ianto are creatures of duty, and it would inevitably take over their lives once more. It was the way they were, and they would need pushing in order to change.
Jack returned Alice's look. "I'm going to count on you to keep us grounded, okay? If you don't hear from one of us at least every other week, then you call us. I don't want to lose contact with you or Steven ever again."
Alice looked floored, but then a large smile graced her features. "Count on it, Dad."
"I will." He returned the smile, feeling as if his relationship with his daughter was finally back on the track it needed to be. And it had only taken the near-ending of the world to do it.
The trip back to Cardiff was an enjoyable one, although there was an undertone of seriousness that Jack knew had more to do with moving on that anything else. The last year had changed them all, and it didn't feel quite right going back to normality when they themselves were no longer normal.
It would be harder for Alice and Steven than it would be for Ianto and Jack himself; they were used to dealing with strange. But Alice had a life that didn't include the bizarre…unless you count having a father who couldn't die, and Jack hadn't been a part of her life for a long time. She was having to go back into that life denying what she'd been through for a year that no longer existed, and it would be hard for her. As for Steven…well, children adapted better than adults, and he'd been sheltered from a lot of what had occurred. Alice had been adamant that he not tell any of his friends about Ddraig Llyn, and Steven had said he understood, but Jack could see something eventually slipping. And, when that happened, he and Ianto would be there to help in any way they could.
Alice dropped them off at Ianto's house, declining the invitation to come in for a little while. She wanted to get to their own home, and spend the weekend preparing for her return to work Monday. It was lucky that Steven was out of school for the summer holidays, so that was one thing she didn't have to deal with yet.
Colonel Mace had been as good as his word; Ianto's car was sitting in the driveway. It had been in London, after Ianto had driven there in order to get into the First Contact press conference. When everything had gone to hell, he'd simply left his car at the UNIT base, not certain if he would see it again. Jack had managed to convince Mace to make certain the automobile had gotten back to its rightful owner, and Mace had done it, figuring he owed them something after what had happened.
Once again extracting a promise of dinner, Alice drove away, and Jack watched as her car stopped at the corner and then turned right and out of sight. He was going to miss them both, since he'd gotten used to having them around, but he vowed he would be better at keeping track of his family in the future.
Jack set one foot inside the house, and knew that he'd finally come full circle. The last time he'd been here had been the night before the Doctor had arrived. It had been the last time he'd known peace before that horrible year. And now, standing in the lounge of the large Victorian that had become his home, Jack felt surrounded by that peace, but it was the peace of the familiar.
Home would always be where Ianto was…and so, this was his home for as long as Ianto lived there.
"How about a takeaway and a movie?" the dragon asked, reaching for his home phone. Both of them had lost their mobiles during the last year; Jack would have to remember to reimburse Rhiannon for all the long distance calls he and Ianto had made over the last week. Getting new phones was number one on their list of getting things back to normal.
"Still have that Chinese place on your speed dial?" Jack hung his coat up on the hat stand near the door, toeing his shoes off. He'd be glad to get back to his regular clothes, since he'd had to borrow from the villagers in order to have anything decent to put on. Just wearing trousers without braces was driving him nuts.
Ianto checked. "I do, yes. Your usual?"
"Sounds like a plan." Jack flopped onto the sofa, sighing in relief. Things would be hectic tomorrow, but tonight he could have his dragon all to himself.
He leaned his head against the back of the sofa, listening as Ianto ordered for them. Jack hadn't realized just how much he'd missed this house, until he'd come back.
"Half an hour," Ianto said, slumping down beside Jack. He practically curled up into Jack's side, humming in pleasure. "Welcome home."
"It's good to be home," Jack answered, looping his arm around Ianto and pulling him closer. "You have no idea how many times I dreamed of this, just sitting here with you, in our house."
"I think I do," the dragon murmured.
They sat there, and Jack simply enjoyed the contentment he was feeling. He and Ianto had definitely re-bonded in Ddraig Llyn, but this was different. This was them, getting back to the familiar, and to their usual lives.
"Should we let everyone know we're back?" Ianto asked drowsily.
"Why don't I do that while you go and get dinner?" Jack suggested. "I also wouldn't mind a shower and a change of clothes."
"Hmm…because I'm too comfortable to move?"
"But you love me anyway."
Jack smiled softly. "Yeah, I guess I do."
Ianto chose "Goldfinger" as their after dinner movie, and as much as Jack liked Sean Connery he knew it was to get him back for making the dragon fetch their food. Jack didn't mind, although he did playfully tease Ianto about his Bond fixation.
He never should have gotten Ianto those DVD's for Christmas…
Goldfinger was just breaking into Fort Knox when the phone rang.
Grumbling, and yet knowing the team wouldn't be calling unless it was important, Jack shifted Ianto and got up to answer it.
"Toshiko said you were back," Kathy Swanson said once he'd picked up.
"Yep, a couple of hours ago," Jack answered. He was really glad he didn't have to be jealous of Ianto and the detective having lunch together anymore, although he'd been pleasantly surprised that she and Toshiko had become a couple. It did show that Kathy had good taste.
"I hate to bother you two, but there's something going on I thought you might want to know about."
Jack quickly went into professional mode. "Something Torchwood related, I take it."
Ianto put the film on pause, sitting up on the couch and paying attention to Jack's part of the conversation. Jack mouthed 'Kathy Swanson' and the dragon nodded in understanding.
"Afraid so. I know you wanted to have the night off…"
"It's fine, Kathy. What's going on?"
"We got a report that a weird fish creature was out joy-riding in a red Chrysler Crossfire through a residential area –"
A Blowfish. Lovely.
"Was the team called in?" Jack asked.
He could hear Swanson rolling her eyes down the phone line. "Of course they were. But, when I heard that the last known location of the vehicle was about a mile from Jones' house…"
"I see your point." Even though Jack knew his team could handle it, Jack was familiar with the area, and the Blowfish could easily endanger innocent civilians if not stopped, some of them Ianto's neighbors. Knowing Blowfish the way Jack did, the alien was undoubtedly stoned to its actual gills. "Thanks, Kathy, for the heads' up."
"No problem, Harkness," the detective replied. "Besides, if Toshiko had to cancel plans with me, then I don't see why your night had to be blissful." Her tone was teasing.
"Well, we hadn't actually gotten to the blissful part yet," Jack leered.
"I don't want to know," Kathy laughed. "Now, get your arses out there and catch that whatever the hell it is. Cardiff's streets are dangerous enough without adding vehicular homicide by red fish-creature into the mix."
"Don't be cheeky, Harkness."
"I wouldn't dream of it, Kathy."
"God, I don't know how Jones puts up with you."
"It's my good looks and undeniable charm."
"Keep thinking that."
Jack chuckled, telling her goodbye and hanging up. Ianto already had his shoes on, and Jack's coat was draped over one arm. "Your spare gun is in the kitchen drawer by the dishwasher."
He grabbed it, threading the holster onto his belt, enjoying the familiar weight of it against his hip. Jack was really glad he'd changed into more appropriate clothing; he really didn't want to chase down a Blowfish in ragged jeans and a pullover. He just didn't feel like the Captain without his usual gear.
He supposed it was a good thing that he hadn't decided to walk around naked after his shower.
"What do we have?" Ianto asked, holding out the coat.
Jack shrugged it on, reveling in the feel of his dragon's hands smoothing down the shoulders. He explained as Ianto retrieved his own gun and car keys. "I have my PDA in the car, unless UNIT took it," he dragon said. "We can track the SUV with it."
"Brilliant idea," Jack said. "What would I do without you?"
"Go racing around the wilds of Cardiff with no clue where you were heading?"
"I did get along just fine with finding my way around Cardiff before you came along, although this way is much more fun."
Ianto laughed. "C'mon, Captain. Let's go catch up with our team."
They found the SUV easily. It had been parked a bit further from Ianto's house than Kathy had reported, but it was still a residential area.
The sports car had been pulled up in the middle of the street, and if Jack was any judge he would have said the flat tire it had had been caused by a bullet. A small crowd had gathered around, and Jack heard the words 'gunshots' and 'police' as he and Ianto made their way through. "Did you see anything?" he demanded, putting on his Captain's voice for the first time in a year.
"There were gunshots," one of the milling women answered, her voice trembling. She pointed toward one house that was brightly lit. "They came from in there."
"Thank you, ma'am," Ianto said politely. "Now, if everyone could please disperse, we'll take of it from here."
None of the crowd looked happy, but everyone began to withdraw. From somewhere in the group someone muttered, "Bloody Torchwood," and Jack couldn't help but smirk at the irritated tone.
Jack turned to Ianto. "You go in through the front," he ordered. "I'll take the back. See if you can find out if the team is all right."
Ianto nodded, pulling his gun. He jogged toward the open front door.
Jack headed around the house, his senses alert for anything that didn't belong. The Blowfish had to have been inside, quite possibly holding the family who owned the house hostage. They would have to make certain no one was hurt, and at the same time make certain the Blowfish didn't get away.
There was a set of French doors leading out from the house and into the back garden. Jack made his way toward them, and the curtains were parted just enough to give him a good look at the scene within. The Blowfish had a girl at gunpoint, and it was apparent that he was taunting the team as they stood there, their own guns aimed at the intruder. Only Owen wasn't taking part in the impasse; he was kneeling next to a man, who had obviously been shot, and was working over him with his medical kit open next to him.
Jack reached for the door handle; it was locked. He stifled a curse at the homeowner's security mindedness, and flipped open his Vortex Manipulator. Ianto might tease him about keeping only his passcodes in it, but there were still a few functions that worked.
Including the lockpick.
He punched a button, and the door's lock disengaged with a near-silent click. Easing the glass door open, Jack caught the end of the Blowfish's tirade.
"- dare you?" It really was taunting them. His hostage was whimpering, and Jack knew he would only have one shot at this…
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ianto coming around the corner and into the lounge area. He caught Jack's eye, and Owen must have also noticed something, because he looked up from the first aid he was performing and did a double-take. Jack couldn't miss the grin that curled the medic's lips upward.
Toshiko stood with her back to Jack, her gun and a scanner pointed at the Blowfish. Gwen was protecting a third member of the family; obviously the mother. He could see her face the best, and she looked uncertain, as if she was trying to figure a way out of the situation without further bloodshed.
It was too bad she didn't know the Blowfish as well as Jack did, or else she would have known only taking the alien out would resolve anything, especially if the fish was wired.
"Would you?" the Blowfish went on, sniffing the girl as if she was some sort of delicacy. "Won't you?"
Jack took the shot.
The Blowfish's brains spattered the tatty drapes behind it.
The girl began to wail, as Jack's team turned to look in the direction of the shot. Ianto stepped out from cover, taking his rightful place just behind Jack's left shoulder.
Jack grinned. "Hey kids," he greeted them, "did you miss us?"