Chapter Ten: An Unexpected Acquisition
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.
Link to Chapter Nine
A couple of months later
Jack made his way along the river, hands shoved in his pockets and acting the epitome of casual. He had the afternoon to himself, and taking a walk like this was something that he hadn't had the freedom to do since... well, since long enough that he couldn't remember when he'd last been able to do so. It had been a very long time since he'd truly been able to enjoy such a lack of huge responsibility. For far too long, he'd been trapped within a prison that, in the end, had been of his own making. It was a shame, then, that this precious time to himself was overshadowed by the memories of the last twelve hours.
He had time to himself now because Ianto was spending the day in one of Sanctuary's private rooms that were usually used by Were Hunters. He'd had a nasty scrap the previous night with a particularly vicious daimon, and had taken some damage before dispatching it back to Kalosis.
Jack shut his eyes briefly as his mind went unwillingly back to the moment that his lover had taken three bullets from the daimon's gun. His emotions had been on swift-shift, and he's gone from panic-stricken to enraged in a matter of seconds. No slow burn for Jack Harkness, not where his Ianto was concerned.
Drawing his sword and putting Ash's warning easily out of his thoughts, Jack had launched himself at the daimon. Fortunately for him, the daimon had been caught by surprise and that surprise had stalled him long enough for Ianto to recover from the gunshot wounds, allowing the young Dark Hunter to dispose of the daimon. Then, he'd collapsed in the street, and it had been all Jack could do to get Ianto safely to Sanctuary where he could be treated accordingly.
Ianto had been equally appreciative and furious at Jack's interference in the fight. He appreciated that Jack loved him enough to put himself at risk to help him, but at the same time he was furious that Jack so willingly and so thoughtlessly put himself at risk to help him. That fury was on full display when Jack was confronted by a very, very angry Dev Peltier.
Later, when he was getting thoroughly chewed out by Dev (Ash had refused to come near him, reportedly because he didn't want to say something they would all regret), Jack had been forced to acknowledge that his hero antics, while well-intentioned, had only had the potential to put Ianto at even greater risk. Had he been killed, Ianto would have had no back-up and no way of summoning help.
It was a sobering and humbling consideration. Far from saving the day, he could easily have caused untold chaos. Worst of all, he might just have gotten Ianto killed a second time.
One thing he was certain of now was that he would never again involve himself in a Dark Hunter's fight unless ordered to do so. Never again would he put his Ianto at risk like that.
The real clincher had come when he'd run into Simi after leaving Ianto to recuperate in Sanctuary, after Dev had ripped him a new one for his stupidity. Her words to him had had far greater impact than anything Dev could have said or done.
"The Simi wants to talk to her Jacky," Simi had told him with a level of gravity that had Jack's heart and stomach sinking into his boots. "Akri is real mad, and so is the Simi. You dids a stupid thing, Jacky. What would Yan do if you was killed while he was hurt? Them daimons could have eated him, and you, too! And then the Simi would be sad because she'd lose two of her best quality peoples. You don't want the Simi to be sad, do you?"
Jack tried to swallow the lump in his throat, but couldn't manage it. When he spoke, it was in a thick voice filled with emotion.
"No, I don't want you to be sad, Simi. I promise I'll never be stupid like that again. I'm so sorry that I disappointed everyone."
That, Jack was just now coming to realise, was what was still eating away at him. He'd wanted to make this new life work, and he'd desperately needed not only Ianto's approval but that of all of his new associates and friends, as well. His actions last evening had cost him dearly in those stakes, and he knew it would be hard to regain the trust that he'd lost.
Ianto had forgiven him immediately for his foolishness, as he had done so often before. His only recrimination had been to murmur 'silly old fool', before allowing Jack to drive him to the safety that was Sanctuary. Consequently, Jack had let his guard down, and was completely unprepared for the bollocking that was waiting for him.
He'd taken it, though, despite the humiliation of being chewed out publicly. It had been public, too. Dev had let rip in front of nearly all of his family, both immediate and extended.
Jack sighed aloud. His earlier enjoyment of the sun, and the open space and fresh air, had vanished. Now, all he felt was a desperate need to be back at Ianto's side, and that had absolutely nothing at all to do with having lost Ianto to death once and being paranoid about it happening again.
"Now you look like you're a boy with a lot on his mind."
Though he had only ever heard that voice once before, Jack had no trouble recognising it. He doubted he would ever forget the voice of the woman/goddess/whatever she was who had granted Ianto a potentially immortal existence.
He'd also been amongst the Dark Hunters and Were Hunters long enough now to know that his relationship with Ianto could land them both in very hot water if Artemis was to ever find out about it. For both their sakes, it was vital that she be led to believe that he was Ianto's squire, and nothing more than that.
Slowly, he turned to face her and his breath caught in his throat. He might have been aware of what a bitch she was, but it didn't take away from the fact that she was truly gorgeous to look at. The last time he'd seen her had been through the filters of the TARDIS' perception filter, and he'd thought her stunning then. Up close and personal, with no filter per se, she truly took his breath away.
"You do know who I am, don't you?" she asked loftily. Jack took a significant step back, and bowed low. Time to turn on the charm...
"My lady Artemis. It's an honour to be in your presence."
He could almost hear Ianto's derisive snort, even as the goddess preened, and he duly ignored the image that his mind presented. After all, he'd seen the way Ianto had sucked up to... what had Simi called her? Ah, yes, the heifer goddess. He was very careful not to let that one slip past his lips.
"Yes," she agreed, "I suppose it is. You know, you don't look like the typical sort of grunt that Acheron usually hires to look after the Dark Hunters. You, sweetie, look more like Dark Hunter material to me."
Jack might have started to worry at that moment, but for two things. Firstly, a person had to die in order for Artemis to make a Dark Hunter of them. Secondly, they needed to willingly surrender their souls to her. He couldn't stay dead even if he wanted to; and he would never surrender his soul to her, knowing as he did now that two Dark Hunters could not stay in close proximity to each other without being adversely affected.
The idea was to be with Ianto always, not always be separated from him.
"I'm a squire," Jack said with a shrug. "Just an ordinary squire."
Artemis' gaze roamed up and down his body and she licked her lips in a manner that was definitely predatory rather than sensual.
"Oh, I don't think there's anything ordinary about you," she said. "And apparently, my darling nephew is of the same opinion. Tell me, Jacky, what is so special about you that Stryker would risk obliteration by Ash to get his grubby hands on you?"
The first real frisson of fear gripped Jack and he wondered whether Ash was too pissed with him to come and save him from the psychotic Greek goddess. He took another step back, no longer caring how it looked. He just wanted to put as much distance between himself and Artemis as possible. His only other option appeared to be grovelling at her feet, and he had no desire to debase himself like that.
"I really don't know," he insisted. "I'm sorry, I have to go."
He turned to head back towards Sanctuary, only to slam into Artemis, who had materialised right in front of him. Her hands grabbed him by the shoulders in a crushing grip that he had no hope of escaping from, and actually had him crying out in pain.
"I'm not done with you yet, sweetie. We have a lot to talk about, so how about we go somewhere that we aren't likely to be interrupted."
It wasn't a question, and she gave Jack no opportunity to respond. In the blink of an eye, Artemis was gone, and she'd taken Jack with her.
to be continued...
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