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Different Shades of Darkness: Chapter Seven

Title: A Different Shade of Darkness
Chapter Seven: Revelations & Understandings
Author: blucougar57
Summary: In the wake of his untimely death, Ianto Jones accepts a deal that will change his life forever.
Rating: Strong T, for now.
Warnings: Spoilers for The Series That Never Was (AKA, Children of Earth); brief description of torture; spoilers for Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Acheron".
X-over: Torchwood/Doctor Who/Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books.



Chapter Seven



To Ianto's relief, Jack slept right through until the following evening, and his sleep remained undisturbed as long as Ianto stayed within physical contact. It proved what Ianto had suspected, that Jack had had no real rest since that fateful night in Thames House.

Once Jack was awake and showered, Ianto presented him with a fresh set of clothes that Ash had provided for him.

"I know, not your usual style," Ianto said wryly, "but they'll do for now."

Jack eyed the suppled leather pants, black tee-shirt and leather jacket with an amused grin. The pants reminded him of the ones he'd stolen to wear on Satellite Five (and that memory only stung a little, compared to the gaping ache it had once caused) and the jacket reminded him of the Doctor. Not the current incarnation who had called him wrong, but the previous regeneration – the one who had given him a second chance to prove his worth. His Doctor, and yes – he knew it was 'his' Doctor who had left him behind, but it was the next Doctor who had made the conscious choice not to go back for him.

"Oh, I don't know. I think I could make this look pretty damn good."

Ianto had to smirk as Jack donned the leather pants. They were worn leather, smooth and soft and with no unpleasant creak. Jack was right, he had to admit. He looked damned good. The pants hugged him in all the right places, leaving Ianto's mouth all-but watering.

"When did we last have sex again?"

"At least two and a half months ago now," Jack answered, his grin widening in anticipation as Ianto stalked towards him and pushed him back onto the bed.

"Mm, way too long," Ianto growled. "And you know what the best part is? I can't get sick. No need to worry about STDs and the like."

"Or condoms," Jack realised with renewed delight. "Just..."

Ianto held up his hand and a bottle of lube appeared in his hand.

"Nice trick," Jack said appreciatively.

'I can teleport small objects short distances," Ianto explained simply. "Provided I know where they are to begin with, of course."

"Enough talk," Jack growled, pulling Ianto down on top of him. "Show me that you're really here. I need to feel you, Ianto. Every inch of you."

Ianto kissed Jack hungrily.

"You will, cariad. You will."

* * *


In another part of the house, Remi came storming out of his room, furious.

"Who took my new bottle of lube?"

"Oh, I did not just hear you say that!" Cherif bellowed. Dev, however, was grinning evilly.

"You'll want to take that up with Ianto, but I'd recommend waiting."

Remi's eyebrows shot up, and his expression turned incredulous.

"Seriously? They're at it already?"

"Hey, I lost on that bet," Fang piped up as he walked past with one of the newest bear cubs snuggled in his arms. "I thought they'd be at it the second Ash vacated the room."

"You're all Neanderthals," Aimee retorted. "They're in love and they've just found each other again, so leave them alone."

"We will," Dev assured her. "They'd just better hope that Artemis does, too."

"One thing I'm sure of," Aimee mused. "I think Ash has taken a bit of a liking to Jack. If Artemis tries anything with them, Ash will have her guts for garters. And he doesn't, then Simi will."

* * *


They emerged finally three hours later, with Jack feeling sorer in certain places than he had for a long time, and loving every bit of it. Ianto's newfound longevity in the sex department had surprised him, albeit pleasantly, and it was all he could do not to walk bow-legged when Ianto took him downstairs.

"What is this place?" Jack wondered as Ianto bade him sit at the kitchen table.

"These are the living quarters that are attached to Sanctuary. That's the bar you were in last night when you heard that I was in trouble. It's well-sealed off so that no humans can get through by mistake."

"Any particular reason why?"

Before Ianto could answer that, a bear cub came charging through the kitchen, with a young girl close behind.

"Sorry!" she gasped. "The little beast got away from me." She scooped up the cub and carried him out, as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Ianto chuckled.

"That's why."

"That was a bear," Jack said in a bemused tone.

"Yes, it was," Ianto confirmed. "That's because Sanctuary is run by a family of... well, were-bears, for want of a better phrase."

Jack digested that piece of information slowly.

"Were-bears. As in half-human and half-bear?"

"Right. In this family, the Peltier family, the bear half is the dominant half. If you were to happen on most of the family while they sleep, you'd see them in bear form."

"And there are a lot of different species of Weres out there?" Jack guessed.

"Right. Fang met you last night before you came running to my rescue. He and his brothers Vane and Fury are wolves. They're all known as Were-Hunters. I won't overload you with information right now, but I think you'll pick it all up quickly enough."

"So... The Peltiers run Sanctuary as a family business?" Jack queried.

"Right."

"Is it a club for Were-Hunters and Dark Hunters?"

"It's a club for anyone who wants to come in, provided they don't want to cause trouble. There's a motto here. Come in peace, or leave in pieces. The Peltiers live by that rule, and they make sure anyone who walks through the door does the same."

"I like that motto," Jack murmured. "It works for me."

Ianto smiled, both bemused and relieved by how easily Jack was coming to terms with everything.

"You never finished telling me how you knew I was alive, or how you knew where to come looking for me."

Jack wasn't entirely keen to relive that anxiety, but he knew he owed Ianto an explanation. He also wanted the young man to understand why he'd cut Gwen off cold.

"I'd been up at Alice's place for all of a day when Gwen turned up. She all but demanded that I go back to Torchwood, and rebuild it with her. To be fair, she was probably thinking about carrying on, like I said we had to after we lost Tosh and Owen. I might have been prepared to, if she hadn't been so quick off the mark. I mean, we hadn't even buried you..."

Jack faltered, his voice cracking a little. A hand closed over his, and his gaze focused on Ianto, who smiled gently.

"I'm right here, Jack. It's okay."

Drawing in a shuddering breath, Jack went on with his story.

"I said I wasn't going back. Then, as a last resort tactic, she said she'd just have to investigate the disappearance of your body on her own."

Ianto felt his stomach knot up, stunned that Gwen could have been so deliberately manipulative. He honestly thought she had moved beyond that sort of immature behaviour.

"She seriously tried to hold you to ransom like that?"

"Yeah, she really did. And when I demanded more information, she just smirked at me... like that look on her face that night when she confronted me about Jonah Bevan, and said she couldn't stop looking into it."

Ianto grimaced. He remembered that defiant, slightly smug look all too well. It was a look that had said 'this is what I'm doing, and you can't do anything to stop me'. Her challenge to Jack's authority in that instance had led to nothing but grief – not just for her, but for everyone around her as well. It sounded very much as though she had not learnt from that experience.

"So you did what...?"

"I called Colonel Oduya to confirm your body was gone. Then I told him I was officially disbanding Torchwood, and completely revoking all of Gwen's authority as a Torchwood agent."

"Bet she was thrilled with that."

"I think that might have been when she slapped me. I admit it was partly out of spite, but I still think she'll be happier once she realises that being out of Torchwood will keep her family safe."

"I hope so," Ianto murmured. "So, I assume you went ahead and investigated on your own?"

"Actually, the first thing I did was call the Doctor. Then I investigated, because it took him a month to show up."

"Doesn't he have a time machine?"

"He's a lousy driver, but don't ever tell him I said so. He can be a little sensitive."

Ianto snorted derisively at that.

"Why am I not surprised?"

Jack smiled faintly before continuing with his story.

"When he did show up, he took me back in time four weeks to Thames House, to see what happened after you..."

"After we confronted the 4-5-6," Ianto inserted gently, and Jack nodded.

"Yeah."

Ianto's expression became guarded as he tried to anticipate how Jack might react to seeing him sell his soul to a spiteful and possessive goddess.

"And did you see?"

Jack lifted Ianto's hand and kissed it lovingly.

"Yes, I did. I saw you make a deal that gives us the chance to be together forever. I love you, Ianto, and nothing will make me feel any different about you."

Ianto leaned in and Jack met him halfway. They were indulging in a slow, languorous kiss when a voice interrupted them.

"Please, you just spent three hours screwing each other's brains out. Enough with the foreplay!"

They parted, but only at the lips. It was obvious that neither man was willing to let go of the other's hand. Dev rolled his eyes in fond exasperation.

"I think it's a given that we all have sex on the brain, but a little self-restraint wouldn't go astray."

"Oh, like you and Samia don't screw every chance you get," Vane snorted as he walked in. Dev looked unamused at the verbal prodding.

"Don't make me bring your sex life into it. How many kids do you have now, wolf?"

"Please!" Ianto interrupted. "You're not discouraging Jack by comparing your sex lives."

Both Were Hunters looked at Jack, and promptly burst out laughing at the lust-blown look in his eyes.

"You'd think he hadn't had any for a century!" Dev snorted. Ianto smiled wryly.

"Jack comes from a different culture. He doesn't view sex in the same way that most humans do."

"I actually come from a different time," Jack explained. When Ianto looked at him in astonishment, Jack shrugged. "We're starting a new life here, right?"

"Right," Ianto agreed, struggling to suppress the surge of joy that rushed through him.

"Well, these are your people now, and I want them to trust me. Hiding things about myself won't help that to happen."

"What do you mean, from a different time?" Vane asked. "And should we be waiting so Ash can hear this as well?"

"I'm already here," Ash said dryly as he walked in. "What should I be hearing?"

"That I was born in a place called Boeshane Peninsula," Jack explained, "on a colony planet in the fifty-first century."

Silence met the declaration. Finally, Ash spoke.

"You're saying you're from the future?"

"And not even from this planet?" Vane asked. Jack nodded.

"Yes, and yes."

"He's telling the truth," Ianto said quickly.

"I know," Ash assured him. "I know. I can tell that much, at least. Jack, can you explain how you came to be here and now?"

"Long story," Jack said ruefully. "Do you want the long version or the short version? Either way, we could be here awhile."

Ash seated himself down.

"We have all night, provided no emergency crops up. Tell us everything you can."

* * *


Over the next four or five hours, Ianto listened in growing awe as Jack related his life story to those present, with a candidness and honesty that Ianto had never before known. He talked about his childhood on Boeshane and the attack that had torn his family apart. He told them about using the war that followed to escape the misery that his home life had become, and convincing his best friend to sign up with him.

No one present could possibly miss the grief and guilt when he told about his friend being tortured and murdered in a failed attempt to break him.

He talked solemnly about joining the Time Agency, and how the respect it earned him on his home world only masked the guilt that continued to eat away at him.

When he told them about waking up one day to discover two years of his memory gone, Ash got a contemplative look on his face, but said nothing.

Then Jack's story reached the time of his meeting the Doctor for the first time. Ianto listened as Jack talked about the time he spent in that Doctor's company, and thought that he could finally understand the love Jack had for the Time Lord.

He talked about the battle of Satellite Five in a subdued voice, and though he took care with his wording, none missed the ache in his voice when he reached the part about waking up to find himself ankle-deep in Dalek dust, and reaching the TARDIS just in time to see her vanish.

"How long did you wait for him to come back?" Aimee asked softly.

"The equivalent of about a month," Jack answered. "That was as long as the food lasted. And I knew by then that he wasn't coming back for me, so I used the teleport and time travel functions on my vortex manipulator and jumped through the vortex to Earth."

"And landed when, exactly?" Ash queried.

"1869. Keep in mind that I didn't realise at the time that I was immortal. I realised I'd missed my intended mark by nearly one hundred and fifty years, and I figured that was it. I was doomed to live out the rest of my life in a technological backwater, so I found a wife and settled down. I knew something was odd when she was ageing, but I didn't seem to be, but it didn't seem to matter when she got sick and died. I decided to go some place where I'd fit in better, here in the US. That was in 1899. I got into a fight on Ellis Island and a man shot me through the heart. I thought it was a bit weird when I woke up, but then it never stopped." Jack paused, recalling the litany of deaths he'd reeled off to the Doctor on Malcassairo. "Beaten, shot, stabbed, trampled by horses, falling off a cliff, World War One and Two... Stray javelin..."

As with the Doctor, everyone in the room cringed, including Ash.

"Well, we've all had crappy lives, so I guess we can sympathise, if nothing else."

"Hey, speak for yourself wolf," Remi growled. Vane ignored him.

"But at least among us Dark Hunters, we've only had to die once. And I'll bet coming back to life is no walk in the roses, either."

"Like being dragged over broken glass," Jack answered soberly, his thoughts straying unwittingly to that year of hell. A hand on his cheek brought him back to reality, and he smiled gratefully at Ianto.

"I think he's a little overqualified to be a squire, Ash," Dev remarked dryly.

"Oh, I think he's perfect to be Ianto's squire," Ash said with a tight smile. "My only question is can he take orders as well as give them?"

"After everything that's happened?" Jack said with a weariness that was all too audible in his voice. "Nothing sounds better than not having to be responsible for making the hard decisions."

Ash nodded. He understood that sentiment only too well.

"Vane, I think I'll take over from here with Ianto. I'll let Eric know that I'll be training Jack, as well. I think Jack's abilities are going to mean a little bit of difference from a squire's typical duties."

Ianto's eyes flashed in warning.

"He's not going to fight unless he absolutely has to. I won't have him used as cannon fodder just because death isn't a permanent state for him."

"Not what I was thinking at all, Ianto," Ash assured him. "He may be immortal, but he has none of the power that comes with being a Dark Hunter." Ash turned a serious gaze on Jack. "You can't go running head-long into a fight the way that you did last night, Jack. You are still human, and Ianto can't be distracted by worrying for you. Do you understand me?"

Jack nodded slowly, meeting Ash's gaze and holding his hand out to shake.

"I understand."

Ash regarded the outstretched hand with immense reluctance. He knew what would happen if he touched Jack. The man would be overwhelmed with lust for him, thanks to the curse his goddess aunt had inflicted on him. On the other hand, he didn't want Jack to think that he was being rejected. Bracing himself for the worst, Ash accepted Jack's hand.

Nothing. There was no gasp from Jack, no flare of lust in the younger man's eyes; absolutely no reaction at all. Instead, Jack immediately turned back to wrap his arms protectively and somewhat possessively around Ianto.

Ash knew he was staring, but he couldn't help it. It was such a rare occurrence, to encounter another living being that wasn't affected by his curse, that it left Ash feeling utterly gobsmacked.

Aware that, with the apparent exception of Jack and Ianto, everyone's attention was on him, Ash stood and clapped his hands together.

"Okay. Ianto and Jack with me. The rest of you, get your lazy asses back to work."

* * *


"Ash, I think Jack needs to meet Simi," Ianto said, once they'd left the confines of Sanctuary. Ash nodded in agreement.

"Simi, come on out."

The Charonte demon emerged from her resting place on Ash's arm and took form in front of them. Given Jack's reaction the evening before, Ash half-expected a panicked response from the human immortal. Instead, Jack regarded Simi with great interest and delight.

"So this is the famous Simi?"

Simi's face lit up.

"Ooh, the Simi is famous?"

"Simi," Ianto said with a wry smile, "this is Jack. I told you about him, remember?"

Simi peered at Jack with equal interest.

"The Simi remembers. You makes my Ianto happy. It's good that you is here now."

Jack smiled softly, easily seeing the great affection that his precious Welsh boy and this gorgeous demon had for each other.

"I came as quickly as I could. I don't want our Ianto to be sad, either."

Ash's expression was fond as he watched his adopted demon daughter with Jack. Like Ianto, he seemed to know just what to say to get into Simi's good graces. It reassured him that both men seemed to view Simi in the same way as they did anyone else.

"Will Jack come shopping with the Simi too?" Simi asked eagerly. Ash fully expected to see the same raw panic in Jack's face that appeared in the face of every man he'd ever known at the prospect of shopping. He was astonished when Jack's face lit up with almost maniacal delight.

"Oh, Simi, I would love to go shopping with you. Just say when and where, baby, and I'll be there."

"Jack," Ianto warned in a low voice, "flirt with her at your own risk. She's Ash's little girl, and he will find a way to end you permanently."

Jack had no chance to defend himself, though, because he suddenly had Simi wrapped around him like a limpet.

"Simi loves her Jack and Ianto. She promises to protect them from Akri-papa, and from the heifer goddess."

"Artemis?" Jack wondered, and Ash smirked.

"Bingo."

"The heifer goddess made my Akri-papa miserable, until Akra-Tory came along, and now he can be happy again," Simi declared cheerfully.

"All right, Simi, that's enough," Ash murmured, anxious to stop her before she said too much. Looking at Jack, though, he had the sudden suspicion that Jack already knew at least some of his secrets.

"You know," Jack said quietly, "the history of this planet is curious. It goes back further than most humans will ever know. For example, they don't know that humans had quite advanced science and other capabilities very early in their history. Most people believe that only happened after an age of prolonged darkness. You know, like Neanderthal man. The truth is that the age of darkness fell when an angry goddess went berserk and destroyed much of what humans built for themselves. Rumour has it that she was taking revenge for the death of her only son. She sank Atlantis and came pretty close to destroying the whole world."

"How do you know all of that?" Ash asked hoarsely, too stunned to even consider trying to pass off what Jack was saying as fantasy.

"I was there to witness it," Jack answered. "The Time Agency sent me back to that time on a training run, to make sure I could be trusted not to interfere with history when I was on solo missions. I was sent to observe a family... a royal family, at the time of the birth of twin sons."

A chill rushed through Ash at what Jack was saying.

"You saw my life."

Ianto looked back and forth between his lover and his new boss, and spoke with extreme wariness.

"Should I be going off to find a quiet corner and retconning myself?"

Ash lifted an eyebrow.

"Retcon? What's that?"

"It's a memory altering drug," Jack answered. "I developed it based on a Time Agency formula. Maybe we should continue this in private, and you can decide whether or not to... end me."

Ash stared at Jack contemplatively. He conceded to being unnerved that Jack seemed to know so much about him but, if nothing else, his time with Tory had taught him that not all humans were narrow-minded and judgemental.

He saw no judgement in Jack's eyes; only understanding. Then he remembered that horrific flash of memory from Jack, and it occurred to him that maybe, just maybe, this man who called himself Jack Harkness was as close to a kindred spirit he was every likely to find, after his beloved wife.

Ash wanted to trust him. He believed that he could.

"How much do you really know about me?" he asked. He kept just enough of an edge to his voice to ensure Jack knew to be very careful in his reply.

"Your name is Apostolos. It was given to you before you were born by your mother, Apollymi. You were cursed by the three Fates and your father, Archon, decreed that you had to die in order to ensure the survival of your pantheon which, by the way, made the Greek pantheon look like kiddies playing with matches. To save you, your mother sent you to be born of a human mother, and to live among humans as one of us until you were old enough to receive your god powers and defend yourself."

Jack said no more, for which Ash was infinitely grateful. He glanced at Ianto, and wasn't sure whether to be confused or relieved when he saw nothing but thoughtful consideration on the other's face.

"You said you were there when my mother almost destroyed the world," Ash said carefully.

Jack nodded.

"I was there when you were born, masquerading as a servant, and I saw how they reacted to you. They should have been honoured to have such a child given to them for safe-keeping, but instead they saw it as a curse. I wanted to go back, and I managed to talk my supervisor into letting me, but it had to be to a different point in your life. As it happened, I arrived just in time to witness your death at Apollo's hands, and everything that happened afterwards."

Ash frowned deeply.

"You were on Atlantis when Apollymi sank it. How did you escape?"

Instinctively, Jack reached for his wrist, only to remember he no longer had his manipulator. Sighing faintly, he resorted reluctantly to a verbal explanation.

"I used to have something called a vortex manipulator. It allowed me to travel through time, and to teleport as well. I used it to evacuate myself."

"You could have saved people," Ash said in a low, dangerous voice. It was a tone that had sent terror through the hardiest Dark Hunters, but Jack never flinched.

"I couldn't interfere. As much as I wanted to – and I did want to – the one person I might have chosen to save could have done irreparable harm to future time lines. I really wanted to help, but I couldn't interfere and you know it."

Ash shut his eyes. Yes, he knew. He didn't like it, but he knew. When he opened his eyes again, he focused a hard look on both men.

"Aside from Tory, no one else knew the truth about me before now. I'd like to keep it that way."

"Because when people find out the truth," Jack said softly, "they see you in a different light, and not always for the better. All of a sudden, you're no longer the person they've known for years. Suddenly, you're a freak that they don't know how to deal with, and sooner or later, discomfort turns to resentment, and resentment turns to hatred."

Ash felt that icy cold feeling in his gut start to ease.

"You do understand," he said in a less harsh tone.

"Yeah. I do. And so does Ianto. We will never tell anyone what we know about you."

Ash believed it. He regarded the two men with a small but genuine smile.

"You two are something special, that's for sure. Now, how about we get some training in before dawn?"

* * *


"This is all yours?" Jack asked, looking around the estate in amazement. Ianto smiled at Jack's visible awe. He had to admit, he understood his lover's shock. When Ash had taken him to the estate for the first time, and told him it was his if he wanted it, Ianto had been gobsmacked. He dreamt of owning a house, but this was literally a case of being handed the keys to the castle on a silver platter.

The place wasn't quite as big as some that were owned by Dark Hunters, but it was big enough for Ianto's tastes. With five bedrooms, two of which had ensuites; three bathrooms; a triple garage; the biggest kitchen Ianto had ever seen in a residential home; and best of all, an enormous hot tub out on the back patio, there was more than enough luxury to keep Ianto comfortable and happy.

"Yep," Ianto answered, when he realised that Jack's question hadn't been rhetorical, and that he was actually waiting for an answer. "Courtesy of Ash."

There was a time, Ianto mused, when such a statement would have resulted either in sending Jack into a jealous sulk, or all manner of lewd suggestions. It was telling that now, Jack just nodded in easy acceptance. In fact, Ianto realised as he watched Jack take in the sights, that it seemed as though the weight of responsibility that had been squarely on Jack's shoulders for so long was almost entirely gone. It warmed his now perpetually cold body to see Jack more or less carefree for once.

He had to admit, he'd been sceptical at how easily Jack would be able to put aside the mantle of leader. In all honesty, he hadn't truly believed Jack could do it, but his lover had surprised him. Jack had not merely put it aside; he'd thrown it off with relish.

It was as though Jack was a whole new man, and it was thrilling for Ianto to witness the dramatic change.

"So, you gonna show me the bedroom?" Jack asked, interrupting Ianto's musings with a leer.

"You're insatiable," Ianto said with a wry smile.

Jack grinned.

"You wouldn't want me any other way."

Ianto smiled fondly.

"True. Seriously, though, do you understand what you're required to do, as my squire?"

Jack answered with a nod.

"I think so. I'm supposed to keep you safe during the day, and do whatever you need me to do during the night."

"And you're really okay with this? Taking orders, and not being in charge?"

"Ianto, I'm more than okay with it. One, it lets me be with you. Two, I'm not the one who has to make the hard choices anymore. How could I not be happy about that?"

"I suppose it's just that I've never seen you as anything but the big boss," Ianto conceded. "It's hard to picture you in a subservient role."

Jack grinned and opened his mouth to speak, only to be cut off by Ianto.

"Shut it. Role playing is one thing. This is real life. Technically, I'm supposed to be your boss now. It's complete turn-about, Jack. I have to admit that I'm a little thrown by it."

As Ianto spoke, the look on Jack's face became guarded.

"Do you regret me coming here?" he asked. Ianto blinked, and then dismay filled his expression as realised how Jack was interpreting his anxieties.

"No! God, Jack, no! I was never as happy as when you turned up two nights ago. I love you, you silly fool, and I want you with me, so don't you dare even think about walking away. Do you hear me?"

As Ianto watched, Jack visibly relaxed and he smiled sheepishly.

"Sorry. I guess it's still sinking in that I haven't lost you after all."

"Not only have you not lost me, but as long as I'm careful, you'll have me forever."

For Ianto, the joy that lit up Jack's face at that reminder was akin to receiving all of his favourite Christmas presents at once. They moved as easily into each other's arms, and Ianto marvelled again at Jack's willing submission.

"You're the only one," Jack whispered.

"The only one what?" Ianto asked, puzzled.

"The only one I couldn't let go," Jack admitted. "I meant it when I promised never to forget you, because out of everyone I've ever loved, you're the one loss I couldn't accept."

"Sappy," Ianto murmured, but he was touched at the same time. Jack huffed against his shoulder.

"Yeah, well, I owe you a lifetime of sappy. I promise you, Ianto, you will never have reason again to doubt that I love you."

A warm smile filled Ianto's face.

"I believe you. And the same goes for me, cariad. We have a chance to start over, and we aren't going to waste it."

* * *


To be continued...




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