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Title: A Different Shade of Darkness
Chapter Sixteen: Visitations
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
X-over: Torchwood/Doctor Who/Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books.
A/N: In which Savitar and Ash tell Jack about his heritage, and then pay a little visit to Ash's sisters, the Fates.


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When Jack regained consciousness to find Ash and Savitar standing over him, and Ianto nowhere to be seen, he honestly believed he was a dead man. Forget the power of the vortex, and the Doctor's assertion that nothing could be done to reverse his immortality. None of that had anything on these two and if anyone could find a way to end him permanently, it was Savitar.

"I don't think he looks happy to see you," Ash remarked amusedly. Savitar smirked.

"And I thought he was a sucker for a pretty face."

Jack cringed, reluctantly remembering that that was the very line he had dished out to Savitar that had caused the ancient immortal to kill him. At the same time, he'd only just recently discovered his own immortality, and had been hell-bent on pushing the limits. He'd found the brick wall he was looking for in Savitar.

"Only one pretty face now," he mumbled. "Where is Ianto? Or do I not get a chance to tell him goodbye?"

"Don't be a dick," Ash snorted, "or we might just forget that you were the victim here."

When confusion flickered across Jack's face, Ash shook his head dismissively.

"Don't think about it too hard. For the record, Ianto is fine. We kicked him out of here because we have a little gift for you, in the way of information."

Slowly, with some effort, Jack sat up, and as he did so he realised he was no longer in the TARDIS, but one of the rooms in Sanctuary.

"The Doctor's gone?" he wondered. "I mean, I didn't imagine that, did I? We were in the TARDIS, weren't we?"

"Yeah, we were," Savitar confirmed. "Much as I hate to admit it, we needed that alien git to find you. Artemis had you trapped inside a timelock. I believe you're familiar with those?"

Jack nodded wordlessly. His heart ached as he thought of Toshiko but a small, fond smile graced his features as he recalled her finest achievement; the timelock that had saved Ianto and Gwen from a Dalek assault.

"She's in a good place, Jack," Ash told him quietly. "They both are."

Ash's quiet, sincere words lifted a long-held shadow on his heart, and Jack nodded in gratitude.

"Thank you."

"If we're done with the touchy-feely stuff?" Savitar snarked, but there was no heat in his words.

"Sorry," Jack apologised, though the smile that quirked at the corners of his mouth suggested he was less than sorry; something that Savitar appeared to be well aware of.

"Uh huh, sure you are. In answer to your question, the Doctor used his ship to find you, and we did the rest."

Jack frowned a little at that, but most of the rescue escaped his admittedly sketchy memory. In fact, most of his captivity was little more to him now than a blur and a residual ache through his exhausted body.

"Don't try to remember," Ash advised him. "It's not worth the grief it'd cause, believe me."

Jack did believe him, and trusted him enough to decide then and there that the Atlantean was right. Judging by how he felt right then, Jack decided that he didn't want to remember. It was luxury he could only wish he'd had after that year on the Valiant.

"Hey," Ash said, laying a strong hand gently on Jack's forehead. "Try and focus for just a few more minutes. We have something to tell you that'll mean you and Ianto will never have to be separated, if that's what you really want."

"What is it?" Jack asked, forcing himself to concentrate, even as his heart started to pound at the mere thought of never having to be parted from Ianto again. "I'll do it, I'll do anything. I never want to lose him again."

"All right, listen close," Savitar said. "You're a descendant of the Arcadian line of Were Hunters. The bloodline is pretty heavily diluted, but it's still there all the same. Now, if you're willing, I can activate that part of your DNA. It won't make you a fully-fledged Were Hunter and I don't know if you'll ever have the ability to change into animal form, but it'll be enough to make it possible for you to receive a mating mark."

"And before you say that that means anyone could get the matching mark," Ash said quickly, "Savitar and I are going to pay a little visit to the Fates. We promise you that Ianto will get the matching mark."

"Only catch is," Savitar warned, "you've gotta seal the deal within a week."

"Or...?" Jack wondered, not entirely sure that he really wanted to know. Savitar smirked.

"Or, you'll be impotent for the rest of your life."

Jack whitened just fractionally.

"Oh."

"So, do you want it?" Savitar pressed. Jack let out his breath in a rush. He knew what he wanted, and he was fairly sure he knew what Ianto would want as well. However, he had no intention of starting a new life together based on assumptions. Ianto deserved to make his own choice – even if Jack ended up getting his heart broken all over again.

"I do want it," he answered, "but Ianto deserves the chance to decide for himself. I won't say yes unless he does. I won't bully or guilt him into a relationship with me that he doesn't have an out from."

Savitar smiled, then. It was a genuine smile that eased Jack's fears better than any words could have done.

"Well said. You've changed for the better, Jack. See that it sticks."

Jack sighed, relaxing back in the bed.

"With Ianto around? It will."

* * *


Outside Jack's room, Ash and Savitar exchanged amused and rueful looks.

"Still think I fucked up taking him on as a squire?"

"Don't push my buttons, Ash. I'll obliterate your ass."

Ash snorted.

"No, you won't."

"Did I say it would be permanent? I can still make you suffer, junior."

"Admit it, Savitar. He's a good person."

"He always was. Didn't keep him from being an annoying son of a bitch. Anyway, I am not going to stand here and debate Jack Harkness's morals with you. We have a little visit to make to your sisters. Are you ready?"

Ash couldn't quite stop himself from smiling evilly. This was something he was truly looking forward to.

"Let's go."

* * *


How Atty failed to see them coming, neither she nor her sisters would ever be able to explain. In full control of the future, as she so believed, Atty should have known they were coming. She should have been able to pinpoint the precise second when they would arrive, allowing the three of them to be well prepared. The fact was that she didn't foresee their arrival, and as such was unable to warn her sisters of the potential doom that was about to descend on them.

Savitar and Acheron arrived with no warning, no fanfare – nothing. One moment, Lachesis, Clotho and Atropos were contentedly weaving the threads of life, humans and immortals alike. The next, Savitar and Acheron stood in the midst of them with expressions on their faces and radiating a level of power that would have given pause even to Zeus himself.

Lacy screamed, and Cloie quickly followed suit, and the two women tried to flee in sheer panic.

"I don't think so," Savitar said, and the doors of their vast chamber slammed shut just before they got to them.

"Not going to try and run?" Ash asked of Atty. The smallest of the Fates regarded her half-brother with a look of boredom that did little to cover the fear she was experiencing.

"Would it do any good?"

"No, but I'd enjoy chasing you down," Ash shot back. Savitar quirked an amused smile.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you didn't know we were coming. But that's impossible, because you're the Fate who sees the future, aren't you?"

Atty glowered, but dared not retort. Outraged though she was at this intrusion into her and her sisters' sanctuary, being confronted by Savitar as well as Apostolos was no laughing matter; especially considering their last encounter with their half-brother had ended with him threatening their ultimate destruction should they ever try to sever his wife's life thread again. It was something she had contemplated many a time since, out of sheer cruel spite, but knew in herself that she would never again be brave enough to attempt.

"What is it that you want?" she asked as Cloie and Lacy rejoined her, herded back by Acheron. Savitar's smirk widened into a grin.

"You don't know that either? This is priceless!"

"I can't see the future where it concerns him," Acheron mused. "It's no surprise that they can't, either. It's got something to do with the vortex inside him."

"Mm. Anyway, why we're here…" Savitar grinned unpleasantly at Atty. "You three bitches are going to do us a favour."

Cloie uttered a strange noise.

"Us? Do a favour for you? Why would we want to do that?"

"Because we're not giving you a choice," Acheron growled.

"Going to kill us, if we refuse?" Atty asked in a voice that held far more confidence than she felt. "Because you know what will happen if you do."

"Don't threaten us," Savitar growled. "You think we, of all people, don't know the potential consequences? And anyway, we never said anything about killing you. As much as I hate you three, you've got a job that no one else wants, and I've got no desire to take it off you."

"Then you have nothing to bargain for the favour you want," Lacy hissed.

"Let me rephrase that," Savitar said thoughtfully. "I've got no desire to destroy you... but that doesn't translate to won't destroy you."

Acheron grinned, then, and the sight of that grin sent a chill of fear through all three Fates.

"See, when he said 'favour', he was just being polite. What he meant was that you are going to do what we want, and you will not deviate in any way."

"And if we refuse?"

Savitar's lavender eyes darkened almost to violet, and his voice held not a threat, but a very dark promise.

"Oh, baby, give me an excuse. Please…"

Atty looked from one to the other, no longer able to hide her fear. Here, even above and beyond the great Zeus, were two of the three immortals that she feared. No, not just feared – regarded with mortal terror. Given the right circumstances, Atty and her sisters knew damned well that Acheron and Savitar would destroy them, and do it gladly. Whatever they wanted, she suspected it would be trivial in comparison to risking their own existences… or rather, she hoped.

As Savitar had said, perhaps he and Acheron didn't care to kill them, but that didn't translate to wouldn't. It was a risk that she dared not take.

"What do you want?" she asked, trying and failing to retain a look of detachment. It was pure conceit on her part, not that she would ever admit that. Above all else, she refused to concede that she had no control within her own domain. Never mind that Acheron and Savitar could no doubt see straight through her bravado; as long as she believed it, that was all that mattered. Or, so she told herself.

"Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones," Acheron said. Atty stiffened, but Acheron continued speaking before she could so much as utter a squeak in response. "You know who they are. You know all about them, so don't try to behave as though you don't."

"His name is not Jack Harkness," Cloie said. "He hides behind a veneer of lies and deceit."

"That's not your problem," Acheron said in a low, warning tone.

"Jack carries the Arcadian bloodline within him," Savitar said.

"It matters not," Lacy said vaguely. "The bloodline is diluted. He will never be a Were Hunter."

"We don't care about that," Savitar snapped. "And since neither Ash nor I can see his future, I sincerely doubt little Atty here can. The point is that he is Arcadian, however badly the bloodline is diluted, and that entitles him to certain things – like a lifemate."

"What are you asking?" Atty hissed, even though she already knew what they wanted.

"You will give Jack and Ianto matching mating marks," Savitar told them. "I'm not asking you. I'm telling you. You will do this. Those two are going to be life companions, and you're going to help them achieve it."

"We can't!" Cloie cried out, her eyes wide. "You can't force us to do that! Zeus…"

"Zeus doesn't even know they exist," Acheron growled, "and he's not going to find out, either. Stop acting like the world will end if you pair them off. We all know there's only one way that will happen, and if you force me into it, so help me I will go down to Kalosis and set her free, just so I can have the pleasure of watching her obliterate the three of you."

Though they would not have said so, it was a true pleasure for Ash and Savitar to witness the wide-eyed horror of the three Fates as they realised they had no choice – not if they valued their existence.

"Fine," Atty spat. She was already imagining ways to pay back the two of them, although in her heart she knew imagining was as far as it would go. She dared not cross either Acheron or Savitar, not in the way that she and her sisters so often crossed the gods of the Greek pantheon; for while the Greek gods were frightened of the Fates and what they could do, with Acheron and Savitar it was the other way around. "It's done. Provided they follow the ritual when the mating mark appears, they will be together until death takes them. Now, if you would please leave…"

"Not so fast, Atty," Ash said, catching hold of her arm in an unbreakable grip. "You forget, I know how slippery you can be, little witch. You know about Jack, and therefore you know he's prone to getting killed. You will not sever Ianto's life thread until Jack has died his final, permanent death. And you will not attempt to end Jack's existence prematurely. We know how long he's supposed to live for, and when he's supposed to die for good, and you won't cause it to happen before then. Do you understand me?"

Atty hissed, glaring at Acheron with pure hatred.

"You can't make me enforce that. The life force ritual is binding. If Ianto dies, so too does Jack – permanently."

Suddenly, Acheron's hand was around her throat, not squeezing but holding in a threatening, powerful grasp.

"Yes. I can make you enforce that, and no, Ianto's death will not end Jack. Instead, Jack's life force will bring Ianto back, and keep bringing him back until the time is right for them both to die. Now, do it. Jack and Ianto are destined to be together, and neither you nor anyone else is going to interfere with them. Now, do you understand me?"

"Yes," she growled sulkily. "I understand. No killing off the pretty immortal human and his mate."

Satisfied, Ash released her finally.

"Very good, Atty. Remember that promise, because if anything happens to those boys before time, I will send you straight to Tartarus."

"And I'll be there to watch, just for the hell of it," Savitar added with a borderline demented grin. Ash barely suppressed an unusual urge to roll his eyes. Savitar was enjoying this just a little too much.

"You don't kill them; you don't encourage anyone else to kill them; you don't employ anyone else to kill them; you don't take any measures at all to send them to an early grave. Got it?"

"All right!" Atty shouted, losing her much-valued calm exterior as Ash and Savitar effectively closed all the loopholes on her. "I get it! Ianto Jones' life thread will remain untouched until Jack Harkness draws his last breath, and the last of Boekind passes from this existence."

As she spoke, her voice took on a strange, lilting quality, signifying the proclamation of a new prophecy, and her sisters joined her as she spoke.

"When the last of Boekind passes through the veil, the soul of the Hunter shall be restored at last and they will be forever joined in death. Let it be so."

"Thank you," Ash said quietly, with a touch more sincerity than he'd realised he was capable of. "You've done a good thing."

Coming back to her senses, Atty glowered resentfully at Ash. She knew what she'd done straight away, and would never forgive him for forcing her into it. She and her sisters had prophesied that Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones would live far longer than any godly pantheon on Earth would exist – beyond the length of time that they themselves would continue to exist – almost making them living gods and, to rub salt in the wound, they'd granted the two of them eternal companionship. It was a bitter pill to swallow, knowing that there was now nothing they or anyone else could do.

"Get out," she spat. "Both of you, out! You taint this place with your presence."

"You hear that, Ash?" Savitar asked smugly. "I don't think we're welcome here anymore. What a fucking shame. C'mon, let's blow this place."

As they prepared to leave, they heard Cloie attempting to comfort her sister.

"Be at peace, Atty."

"Yes, and remember," Lacy said gently, "at least there will be no children from their union."

Atty froze, looking past her sisters to where Ash and Savitar stood. Savitar wore a wicked grin that could mean only one thing. She opened her mouth and let out an ear-splitting scream, but it was too late. They were already gone.

* * *






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