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Different Shades of Darkness: Chapter Three

Title: A Different Shade of Darkness
Chapter Three: Hope
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).
X-over: Torchwood/Doctor Who/Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books.

Go to Chapter 2

Chapter Three: Hope

Getting in contact with the Doctor was not a problem for Jack. He had the phone number, and the Doctor was willing enough to come. In fact, it seemed to Jack very much like the Time Lord had something of a guilt complex, given how quickly he agreed to Jack's request. As was usually the case, though, timing was the issue. Jack knew damned well that the Doctor operated to his own personal clock, and it could easily be any time between a minute and a month before he turned up.

In the meantime, Jack divided his time between investigating as best as he could, given he no longer had the extensive resources that Torchwood had previously afforded him, and spending time with his daughter and grandson.

For the first time in his life, Jack enjoyed the comfort that was being part of a family, and he relished it far more than he'd ever thought he might. He marvelled in the simple joy of shopping for groceries with Alice, and sitting with Stephen after dinner to help him with some particularly curly math questions. He thrilled in their delight when he prepared a meal for the three of them, and just being able to sit at the kitchen table and talk to Alice without any animosity between them was enough to bring tears to his eyes. It couldn't last, and they all knew it. Rather than taint their time together, though, Jack found himself appreciating every moment he had with them.

It broke his heart to acknowledge he hadn't made the same effort to appreciate his time with Ianto.

His solo investigation into the disappearance of Ianto's body bore no fruit, not that he had really expected it would. No one knew anything and the CCTV, which he found had not been tampered with, showed Ianto's body there one moment, and quite literally gone the next. Additionally, the CCTV footage of the alien's tank went blank a matter of minutes after Ianto's body vanished, and remained so for the next fifteen minutes. When the camera came back on, the alien was dead and the child who had been its prisoner was laid out reverently, covered with a red sheet that was suspiciously like the one which had covered Ianto.

By the time the Doctor finally turned up nearly a month after Jack contacted him, the immortal was ready to start climbing the walls with anxiety.

"I'm sorry," the Doctor apologised quietly after Jack farewelled his family, and joined the Time Lord in the TARDIS. "I should have been here for you. Ah, Jack, why didn't you call me when it all happened?"

Jack's expression was tired and worn, and when he answered his gaze was fixed on the floor of the TARDIS.

"Between being shot, blown up, buried in concrete, gassed to death... I guess I just never seemed to find the time to give you a call. Besides, would you really have come?"

The Doctor looked mildly affronted.

"This wasn't a fixed point in Earth's history. It could have been changed, if done the right way at the right moment. Now, there's no way to change it. I'm sorry, Jack. I can't bring Ianto back to you."

A shudder rippled through Jack, and he couldn't quite hold back a fresh onslaught of tears. He hadn't realised just how much he'd hoped the Doctor could change it, until now.

"I understand," he said in a voice that trembled a little with stress. "But can you at least help me to find out what happened to Ianto's body? He deserves a proper burial. I owe him that much, at least."

The Doctor nodded, watching Jack with sympathy and understanding.

"Yes, I'll help. Of course I will."

Jack let his breath out in a rush, aware only after the fact that he'd been holding it in the first place.

"Thank you."

* * *

When the TARDIS landed in Thames House, in the room with the bodies of all the victims of the 4-5-6, it was all Jack could do not to rush out of TARDIS, gather up his lover's body and take it away himself. He wondered just briefly whether maybe that was, indeed, what had happened, but the Doctor's hand on his shoulder restrained him.

"You can't go out there, Jack."

"I know," Jack answered with bitter resignation. "I can't interfere."

"No, you can't," the Doctor confirmed sternly, though not without sympathy. "However, it seems someone else is. We just need to change the TARDIS' viewing filters..."

Jack stared at the monitor breathlessly as the image flickered, and an ethereally beautiful woman came into focus.

"Who the hell is that?"

"Keep quiet, and I'll open the doors so we can hear."

Jack clamped his mouth shut and watched with growing nerves as the doors opened a little, just enough to allow them to see and hear what was going on. The woman stood by Ianto's covered corpse and, with a wave of her hand, the red sheet lifted away.

"Not bad, for a human," she remarked, and Jack bristled at the back-handed compliment. In his eyes, Ianto was absolutely perfect.

"All right," the woman said, and for an instant Jack thought she was talking to him and the Doctor. "I don't have all night. Let's get this boat on the water."

The Doctor quirked an eyebrow.

"I think she means 'show on the road'."

"Hush," Jack hissed, anxious that they didn't miss a word. And suddenly, Ianto was no longer lying dead on the floor, but standing there in all his living glory. Jack whimpered faintly, but the Doctor maintained a firm grip on his arm.

"We can't interfere in an established event. We can only watch. You know the rules, Jack."

"The rules suck," Jack growled, to which the Doctor smiled.

"Can't say I disagree with you, but you know what could happen if we interfere. Now, just watch."

And Jack did. He watched in growing shock as the young man he'd grown to love sold his soul to a Greek goddess who shouldn't even exist in return for one act of pure vengeance.

"He's immortal?" Jack whispered in shock as they watched a determined Ianto stride from the room, sheer power radiating from his new supernatural form.

"Apparently," the Doctor said dryly, "provided he doesn't get himself killed. Jack, you sensed it, didn't you? He's no longer human. She changed him, permanently."

Jack nodded. His breath was shallow from increasing excitement as what he'd just witnessed started to sink into his conscious mind.

"Yes. She's given him back to me, potentially forever."


Jack stared intently at his old friend.

"Take me back to the right time, Doctor."

"What are you going to do, Jack?"

"I'm going to New Orleans, to find Ianto."

* * *

to be continued...

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