Chapter Thirteen: Summoning the Doctor
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: Next chapter – Jack and Artemis.
Go Here For Chapter Twelve
When Savitar indicated his intention to bring the Doctor in on the situation, Ianto had to admit that he didn't really know what to expect. Whilst he remembered what Jack had said about no one being able to enter the TARDIS uninvited, neither could he conceive of Savitar being denied entry if he really wanted to get inside. He wondered, as a small, select group exited Sanctuary, whether there was some sort of mutual agreement between Savitar and the Time Lord. Then he tried to keep his head from aching at the thought of the level of chaos that could potentially be caused by the two beings.
One thing Ianto was sure of was that Savitar was far older than the Doctor's nine hundred and something years. No one knew for sure how old he really was, but Ianto guessed he was at least as old as Ash, and with that sort of age came immense power.
With those thoughts lingering in his mind, Ianto was barely able to conceal his surprise when Savitar took out his phone and simply called the Doctor.
"It's exactly 2.37am on October 9th. I'm waiting outside Sanctuary in New Orleans, and if you keep me waiting for more than thirty seconds, I will kick your scrawny Gallifreyan ass clear across the galaxy.
Four pairs of eyebrows shot up simultaneously, but there was no opportunity to ask questions. Exactly twenty-two seconds after Savitar made the call, the sound of grinding engines filled the air and a battered-looking blue box appeared in front of them. The doors were flung open and an annoyed face peered out, quickly finding Savitar.
"Would it really hurt that much just to say 'please' once in a while? Honestly!"
"It got you here, didn't it?" Savitar asked in amusement. "And I need you here now, not in five months' time."
The Doctor opened his mouth to protest, but Savitar cut him off.
"Your driving sucks. Get over it."
The Doctor huffed in annoyance but it quickly vanished at the sight of Ianto.
"Well, Ianto Jones," he said, with a tiny hint of a smile to take the edge off the brusque tone, although he couldn't quite conceal his disapproval. "I'm not quite sure whether 'alive' is entirely the right word, but you are looking well."
Ianto had no trouble hearing the disapproval in the Doctor's voice and found that he simply didn't care. After all, the Doctor had no cause to criticise after everything he'd done to Jack over the years.
"I made a choice," he said with a shrug. "I don't regret it and you have no business judging me over it."
"I'll say he doesn't," Savitar retorted. "I didn't call you here to be a judgemental son of a bitch, Doctor. I called you here because we need your help to find a mutual... acquaintance."
It was the Doctor's turn to raise his eyebrows.
"You're talking about Jack, aren't you?"
"You don't sound surprised."
The Doctor snorted loudly.
"What I'm surprised by is how long it took him to get himself in trouble. I thought he'd need me to bail him out long before this."
"Doctor," Ianto said in a low, tense voice, "you may be the last of the Time Lords, and you may believe that entitles you to be arrogant and rude, but there is something you really should take into account."
"And what would that be?" the Doctor wondered, staring piercingly at Ianto. The young Dark Hunter stared back with eyes that swirled black and silver.
"You're insulting the man that I love, and I can hit you hard enough to regenerate you."
The Doctor blinked owlishly.
"Yes. Right. Well." He turned abruptly to face an openly smirking Savitar. "Perhaps you'd all better come in, and tell me what's happened."
They filed into the TARDIS behind the Doctor – Savitar, Ianto, Ash, Dev and Vane. While neither Savitar nor Ianto reacted outwardly to the sight of the engine room, the other three took a requisite moment to admire the ship.
"Well, I'm impressed," Dev admitted. "First we find out that aliens are real, and now this."
Vane smirked, then looked over at Ash.
"This is kind of like your place, every time Simi needs another room for all the stuff she's bought."
"Where is Simi, by the way?" Dev wondered. "We could use her help, especially since Artemis is shit-scared of her."
Ash shook his head.
"I sent her to Club Charonte, and she's better off staying there until this is over with. As much as I hate Artemis, killing her is not a good idea, and I just don't know that I'd be able to stop Simi once she's been let loose."
Ash looked at Savitar, mildly annoyed.
"I really don't think that's a good idea."
"Trust me," Savitar said. "Good idea or not, we need her. Artemis is not going to give Jack up easily. She's likely to give him up to Zeus before she lets us take him, and you know what the old fart is like when it comes to immortals who aren't gods."
"He'd try to destroy him," Ash muttered.
"Exactly. Summon your demon, Apostolos, and be ready to go in at full god strength."
Ash froze, his eyes shifting to Dev and Vane, who were watching the exchange in growing astonishment. As far as they were concerned, Ash was simply the leader of the Dark Hunters. Here, though, was Savitar all-but saying that he was actually a god. It was a shock to the system, to say the very least.
"They'll keep it under wraps," Savitar said with a deceptive flippancy that barely masked a very real threat. "That is, provided they want to remember how to eat with a knife and a fork."
Two mouths snapped shut at the same instant, and Vane and Dev suddenly found the walls of the TARDIS extremely fascinating. The Doctor, however, made no effort to conceal his curiosity.
"Apostolos? You're Apollymi's son?"
"Yes," Ash answered with a theatrical sigh, all the while silently plotting to wipe the entire conversation from Dev and Vane's minds as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Even if they kept the secret of his origins, it wouldn't take long before they began to behave differently around him and that, in turn, would have everyone wondering. It was a chance that Ash simply wasn't willing to take.
"So, you're the one that Jack had his memories stolen over trying to help."
That simple statement brought Ash back to reality with a jarring crash, and he looked at the Doctor in confusion.
"What are you talking about?"
"You have the ability to see the past, present and future of most people," the Doctor said with a grim smile, "but you deliberately choose not to remember your own human life. I can understand why, but you should think back to when you were just a little boy... no more than two or three years old."
Ash stood stiffly, fighting an overwhelming desire to shut the other man up before something that he really didn't want Dev or Vane to know about was blurted out. The Doctor went on, his voice dropping to a low murmur that was nevertheless heard clearly by all present.
"Your sister wasn't the only friend you had. For a time, for approximately two years, one of the palace guards was assigned to watch you, and he was more of a father to you than either your human father or your godly father ever was. Do you remember, Acheron? He gave you affection whenever you craved it. He did his best to protect you from the cruelty of others, even when it resulted in him being punished. He loved you like a son, and he treated you like it."
And despite his best efforts not to, Ash did remember.
He remembered a smiling face and a voice that never had a harsh word or tone for him. He remembered arms that had always been open and waiting to give hugs rather than slaps – hugs that had never les to unwanted touches. Most of all, though, he remembered the bitter day when his protector had disappeared, leaving him with only a sister who could not protect him nearly as well as she wanted to.
"He was never supposed to be there, you know," the Doctor said almost idly. "He went back in time and took on a job that no one else wanted, going completely against his Time Agency orders. He deliberately interfered in your timeline because he couldn't stand to see a child be mistreated. The reward he got for showing you compassion was the removal of those two years from his memory."
"If he doesn't remember," Ianto said with a frown, "then how do you know?"
"Well, it's not actually a memory removal," the Doctor conceded. "More like a memory block, except the Time Agency were very proficient at making those blocks permanent. When Jack travelled with me, before he became a fixed point, I offered to help him remember what the Agency had blocked. I underestimated the strength of the block, and I put Jack into a coma in the process of trying to get rid of it. So I saw his memories, but there was nothing I could do to help him regain them. I couldn't even tell him about them. That would have been like a worm, burrowing away inside his mind. Eventually, it would have resulted in permanent damage. All I could do in the end was to reassure him that what he'd done was not a bad thing. Not on a moral level."
"Son of a bitch," Savitar murmured. "Even I didn't know about that. I guess the cocky little bastard does have a redeeming point after all."
Ash let his breath out in a rush, overwhelmed with emotion. Those two years had been the happiest of his human life, and he instinctively knew that Jack would have died to keep him from being sold to his uncle as a sex slave. Fresh determination gripped him, and he spoke in a guttural voice.
The Charonte demon appeared in an instant at the summons, and by all appearances she knew her akri was on the cusp of unleashing his god powers.
"Did Akri Papa find the Simi's Jacky?"
"We know who has him, Simi," Ash confirmed. "We're going to get him back."
"Does the heifer goddess gots the Simi's Jacky? Is the Simi going to get to eats the heifer goddess finally?"
"Simi, listen to me," Ash said, and as he spoke he transformed from his chosen human look into his true god form. Simi squealed in delight.
"Akri Papa gots his hornays out! The Simi's gonna gets her barbeque sauce!"
"Listen," Ash ordered sternly. "We are not going to kill Artemis, as much as I'd like to. We are going to save Jack."
Simi pouted, but didn't argue.
"The Simi understands. No eating the heifer goddess."
"Good girl." Ash turned to the Doctor, and he wasn't lost on him the lack of surprise from the Time Lord at his appearance. "Artemis has Jack. I'm certain of that. What we suspect is that she has somehow found a way to manipulate time to keep him hidden from us."
"There are two possibilities that we know of," Ianto said. "Either she's used the same trick the Daleks used when they stole the Earth..."
"One second out of sync," the Doctor murmured with a frown.
"Or, alternatively," Ianto said, "she's managed to somehow create a timelock."
"That would be more likely," the Doctor conceded. "But how could she pull it off? Artemis has no power over time, and Jack doesn't even have his vortex manipulator anymore."
"We don't know how she could have done it," Savitar said. "Not for sure, although I have my suspicions. We'll deal with that later. Right now, our goal is to find her and get Jack away from her before she can do permanent damage to him."
The Doctor shook his head as he returned his attention to the control panels.
"Jack is a fixed point in time and space. Whatever she does won't be permament."
He turned, intending to take off his coat and toss it onto the pilot's seat, only to find himself almost nose-to-nose with Ianto.
"Doctor," Ianto said in a low, menacing tone, "you ought to know as well as, if not better than anyone else that the fact that Jack is a fixed point does not gift him with a magical cure-all. His physical body may recover but his heart, mind and soul are another matter entirely. I know what he sacrificed for you and the Jones family on the Valiant. I've witnessed the nightmares that he still has about that year I've seen the evidence of his PTSD. It bothers me greatly that you don't seem to see past the physical, visual evidence of Jack's body, but now is not the time to argue with you over that. What you need to understand is that every minute longer in Artemis' control is a minute too long. Every minute longer is an extra minute of trauma added to Jack's suffering; and the longer it takes us to reach him, the longer it will take him to heal. And I suspect I would not be wrong in saying that Artemis is far more sadistic than the Master ever was."
"She is," Ash confirmed tightly. The Doctor looked around, agape, and his gaze lingered fractionally on Savitar. Unless he was mistaken, the cheeky blighter was smirking at him again.
"Found a new favourite, Savitar?" the Time Lord asked snarkily. Savitar didn't so much as twitch.
"Keep it up, you alien flunky, and I'll put you in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with nothing but a surfboard and a pair of board shorts."
Annoyance, mixed fleetingly with panic, flashed across the Doctor's face but, tellingly, he didn't argue.
"All right," he conceded, starting the time rotor. "Let's go get the Captain."
to be continued...
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