Mercury Pheonix (mercury_pheonix) wrote,
Mercury Pheonix
mercury_pheonix

Served Cold | Chapter 12

Title: Served Cold
Author:
mercury_pheonix 
Fandom:
Torchwood/Doctor Who
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Children of Earth Fix-It.
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Gray, Eleventh Doctor, Amy/Rory, Alonso (Some Jack/Alonso)
Ratings/Warnings:
R – sex, rape, abuse, torture.
Spoilers:
All series.
Summary:
When the Hub explodes, and the cryogenic chambers are flung open, one of its inhabitants manages to flee the wreckage. Seeking revenge, he decides that the best way to hurt Captain Jack Harkness is through a certain Welshman. There's one problem, however – Ianto Jones is dead…


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A/N: First of all, I have to deliver my utmost apologies for the lateness of this chapter. This is a pivotal chapter, and I have been suffering from a terrible case of writer's block - I did not want to rush it, or force it into directions that it didn't want to go. I have not slept properly for over two months, as my A Level results, which determine my University place, are looming (this Thursday - coincidentally, Ianto's birthday), and this perpetual exhaustion has taken its toll on my ability to write quickly, or indeed, to write well. The last few weeks have been focused on fighting through this to complete my entry for the Sex, Wales and Anarchy Short Story Competition, which is now done, as well as chronic disillusionment in the Torchwood fandom in general. But, I've broken through it, and feel fresh and ready to write. That's all the apologies I can give, and I hope you will continue to read and will not give up on me as a result of such a long delay.

Secondly, I have to send out a huge thank to all my readers and my reviewers...as this fiction has been nominated for TWO Children of Time Awards! In the "Slash" category and in the "Angst" category. I cannot believe this, and the fact that people would think of nominating one of my fictions literally did bring tears to my eyes. I still find it difficult to believe that it's actually happened, but it has. So thank you, thank you so much for your continued support, your continued readership, and I hope I can continue to meet your expectations and bring you a story that is worth it in the end.

Thank you. All of you.


Chapter 11 | Masterlist | Chapter 13



Served Cold

Chapter 12

Jack's feet beat out an uneven rhythm as he paced the circumference of the console, his eyes flicking from the various screens and dials to the young man tapping nervously at the keys. His hands buried themselves deep within the confines of his pockets, crossing over his stomach to draw the coat tightly, protectively around his body.

The Doctor leant against the railings of the Tardis, his eyes watching Jack closely as he drew closer to Alonso, leaning over his shoulder to invade his personal space.

"Jack."

The immortal stiffened as the Doctor's words permeated the air, his face hovering just close enough to Alonso's back to cause the younger man to flinch uncomfortably. The tension in the air crackled unpleasantly, the strength of it almost enough to set the Doctor's hair on end.

"Jack," he tried again, clearing his throat noisily and forcing Jack to step away from his unwilling helpmeet. "This really isn't helping."

Jack bowed his head ever so slightly, his hands, still buried in the depths of his coat, tightening across his stomach until he was cocooned in the rough, blue material of his greatcoat. The Doctor smiled slightly uncertainly as he beckoned Jack towards him, silently wishing that Amy or Rory would appear from the labyrinth of the Tardis to catch him. For all his travels, he wasn't particularly good at this type of thing – that was why he travelled with humans, because he needed that grounding and support and that link to the worlds he was trying to save.

The blue eyes of Jack Harkness fixed sharply on his own as he stepped forward, following the Doctor as he led them away from the main console room and into one of the many adjoining corridors. The Time Lord turned on his heel as the door closed behind him, resting his foot on the wall and craning his neck backwards to look down at Jack.

"What do you want?" Jack sighed heavily, scuffing his boot against the floor and focusing on the swirl of dust that followed the movement.

"To get you away from him, would be a start," the Doctor motioned with his head towards the now closed door. "He needs the space to work, and he's not happy with you breathing down his neck. It's distracting. And no wonder. With those pheromones, it's a wonder that anyone ever got any work done under your command."

Jack looked up sharply.

"Well, they did. Because they were brilliant. In fact, they got on just fine without me. I think they'd have been better off, to tell you the truth, if I'd been as irresponsible as you obviously wanted me to be, and followed you for the rest of my eternity."

The Doctor's hand rose to the back of his neck, fiddling with the hair at the nape of his neck.

"Jack…" he sighed. "Stop it."

The man in question glared at him petulantly.

"Stop what?"

"I don't know!" The Doctor stretched out his arm, flinging it wildly into the air. "The self-doubt, perhaps? The self-deprecation? The little buzzy force field around you that just buzzes with a buzziness of self-loathing…look at it there it is. Buzzzz. You see?" he flicked his fingers randomly in the air between them. Jack's glare intensified, and he quickly dropped his hands to his pocket.

"I mean, ah, by all means, in your own time, feel free to hit yourself over the head with a chair, but there are other things to focus on at the moment – finding your Jones, would be a start. And for that, I need you here. With me. Imagine what it would be like if we pull him out of this only for him to be hit by a wall of…buzziness."

Jack scoffed.

"Why do you care?"

"Or…" the Doctor held up a hand, continuing as if he hadn't even heard Jack's question. "We could just regress back to the years of our youth, and rebel against poor mummy and daddy, asking inane questions that don't actually really need an answer because the one asking the question thinks he has the answer already and wouldn't believe the answer even if he was told it."

Taking a step back and wrapping his coat further around him, Jack's scowl deepened so that it wrinkled the skin around his eyes.

"We'll find him, Doctor. And then, we send him home. Where he belongs. Now, seeing as you're so eager to find him, I need to be getting back to the monitoring the tracking progress."

He spun, just as the Doctor reached out and gripped the sleeve of his jacket, tugging him back to him.

"Jack, just think about it for a second. You can't mean that you're just going to…"

"Run away?" the Doctor nodded sheepishly as Jack plucked the words from his mouth. "Why not? I learnt from the best, after all."

The Timelord sighed as he lowered his gaze, scuffing his shoes uncomfortably on the floor before rocking forward to the balls of his feet. Jack's gaze was like a mixture of fire and ice, coldness and raging heat; each burning with their own intensity. He opened his mouth to retort, immediately thinking better of it as Jack continued, launching into a tirade.

"You've always run away. And I've always forgiven you, because…I thought I understood why you did it. But it just gets to a point, Doctor, where…I can't…not anymore. I'm an ass, Doctor – I always have been, and you've always known that. And you accepted that, like I accepted you. He'll be better off without me, once we find him..." he suddenly laughed, tipping his head and hooking his hands at the back of his neck, as if trying to support his own weight against the air. "…though you seemed to conveniently forget this when it came to clearing your own conscience."

The Doctor's head snapped up, indignation lighting in his eyes.

"No, Jack, that wasn't me. Well, it was, but it also wasn't…you know what I mean. And you can't really say it was so much as clearing my conscience…I mean, I was just trying to…"

"Help?" Jack raised an eyebrow as the Doctor nodded minutely. "So, you thought you'd sit aside whilst my life fell apart, and then make up for it by pimping me out to some guy you once met? That would 'help' me?"

"Erm...well...if you say it like that then it's going to sound…"

"You think all I needed was another warm body, which, by the way, I could have found by myself if I'd wanted to. I do have quite a lot of experience in that area, unless you've forgotten that as well. And that you'd think that was all I needed…that's how little you actually think of me."

"No...Jack..."

"What do you think I've been doing these past few months, trying to forget, trying to block everything out. And it didn't work, Doctor, it never worked. I need you to help me, Doctor, I've always needed you to help me, but you can't if you don't understand."

"So you and Alonso…you did…?"

"What do you think?"

"Yyyyy-yes?"

"And now I've hurt him too. He says it's okay, that it's fine; but I've been in enough of these things to know that if someone calls out someone else's name when they come, it's pretty damned insulting. I've once again proved what an ass I am, to everyone."

The Doctor stepped forward suddenly, placing his hands on Jack's shoulders and pressing down with his long fingers, holding him firmly in place.

"I want you to listen to me, Jack Harkness," Jack tried to turn away, only to have himself pulled back as the Doctor's surprisingly strong fingers dug painfully into his shoulder blades.

"I'm not used to failing. I never fail. I'm the Doctor: I always have the answers, I always save the world, but you, Jack, you are the one person I can never save. I don't have your answers. I want to have your answers, I want to fix you, but I just…can't. Because you're…you're…"

"Impossible," Jack finished for him, a tired smile on his face.

"Impossible," his lanky haired companion agreed, matching the smile as best he could. "And that's a unique thing to be. There's no one else like you. But I want you to remember that you are fantastic…nuh-uh!" he shook his head as Jack opened his mouth to protest. "You are, even if you don't realise it – you've survived impossible things, and you're still here. You are fighting for him, whatever you think, and he needs you for that. From what you told us about him, I can hazard a guess he wouldn't be too happy about this current state of mind you seem to be in. And I already like him for that."

The smile widened, splitting Jack's face open and yet somehow growing in sadness with each millimetre that it stretched.

"Yeah…not so sure he'd like you, but there we go."

"Well, then we should at least hurry up and give me the chance to defend myself. Waddaya say to that, Jacky-boy?"

"Sounds good," Jack nodded, his hand creeping to his own shoulder to squeeze the Doctor's fingers. "You still owe me, big time, by the way. But…thank you."

The Doctor stepped forward so that there faces were as close as they could possibly be, gently knocking his forehead against the immortal's in a way that Jack felt inclined to interpret as affectionate.

"Any time. I don't leave my friends behind. Not anymore."

"Ahem."

They turned abruptly, breaking apart briskly as they saw that Alonso had pushed open the door, and was now looking at them slightly awkwardly.

"Am I…interrupting anything?"

"No!" both Jack and the Doctor barked at the same time, coaxing a raised eyebrow from the young man who was now standing, hands on hips, facing them. So much like…no, Jack thought hurriedly, don't think like that, not yet.

"Well, if you're not otherwise engaged," Alonso turned, gesturing with his thumb towards the console. "We're just pulling up alongside. We've found them."

x

x

Ianto was asleep when he heard the rattling. The whole floor of the ship seemed to vibrate, shaking him out of the lull he'd sunk into, drifting off to the song of the golden beings taking refuge in his head. His eyes flew open, attempting to move, to brace himself, before he once again realised that his hands were bound.

Oh yeah. He kept forgetting that.

Wriggling slightly, he managed to use the weight of his body to swing himself up, wincing as his throat ached with the remnants of the knife that had been slid across it only the day before. Or was it actually the day before? There weren't any windows, he just fell asleep when sleep took him. Which seemed to be more and more these days – he'd lost track of the time here, finding that it was easier to fall into unconsciousness at the moments when he was alone.

He'd even stopped dreaming.

Maybe it was a survival instinct. Or maybe the golden clouds had gone to work inside his head as well as his body, catching whatever it was that was hurting him and stopping it in his tracks. Or maybe he was just not asleep enough to dream, one eye always cracked slightly open and waiting for the moment when those heavy boots would come clip-clip-clopping towards the room.

He stiffened as he heard a sound, a clunking noise which tipped the ship to one side. He scrambled at the floor, gripping only the rough flora that was strewn about him and unable to turn against the tilting that threw him harshly onto his hip. The ship quickly righted itself again, rolling him back until his bound hands crushed painfully between his body and the wall. A short, sharp yelp escaped his throat as he felt something snap, the sound reverberating through his recently healed throat painfully.

The sharp throbbing shot through his wrist, travelling quickly from his arm to his brain, and he bit his lip, tearing at the chapped skin so that he could feel blood seeping through onto his teeth. The buzzing in his head grew louder, the loud, echoing singing that had lulled him to sleep now whipping themselves up into a frenzy. He raised his hands to his head, crying out again as the shards of broken bone in his hand and wrist knocked against one another; but that wasn't important, he needed to press his palms against his forehead, needing to push and grind and get some of that pressure to chase away the buzzing.

"Go away," he muttered, the vibrations of the buzzing entity flowing down his aching throat and sending tremors through his entire body. "Leave me alone."

A harsh, animalistic sound, like a whimper, cut through his damaged lips as his skin and bone began to knit itself back together, the now unseen nanogenes swirling like a trickle of water along the length of his body. Ianto gritted his teeth against the wrenching that shot through him, his skin being tugged forcibly back in place, bones moved roughly and reassembled.

"Hurry up," he whispered quietly. "Please…hurry up…"

They obviously couldn't hear him, he knew that, but somewhere in his mind he convinced himself that they could, persuaded himself that they sped up frantically, working as hard as they could to fix whatever it was they had to fix. Because they liked him…because they were a kindred spirit…because they cared. Even though they didn't – they were like robots, doing what they had to do when they had to do, but it wasn't such an attractive thing to think. If he convinced himself they were alive, it gave him someone to talk to. Sometimes he even managed to trick himself into thinking he could hear words in their reply.

It was still going mad. But at least, he figured, it was the least lonely way to go mad.

Like those footsteps coming towards him. Not the usual cloppings of the madman, no, not like that at all. He almost recognised the tread of one of the boots – remembered it striding purposefully into any situation that faced them. Those heavy boots…

And they sounded so real…

But they couldn't be real because that was impossible…a fairy tale, even and the one thing Ianto didn't believe in was fairy tales.

Ianto felt panic mingling with the pain as he scrabbled backwards, letting out yet another cry as his healing body knocked against itself and the nanogenes bit down in protest.

So then, he realised as he was unable to banish the familiar footsteps from his mind, this was the first sign of insanity. He'd gone. He hadn't been able to stop it after all.

x

x

The ship seemed to rock from side to side as Jack took another step forward, his gun tightening in his hand as his eyes took in every detail of the rusted metal body. He could sense the Doctor behind him, followed closely by Rory and Amy – he had been assured that Rory had been a nurse back on Earth, before he had been whisked away by Doctor, and, as much as he would have liked to have embarked on this particular venture himself, he'd been talked into bringing along the Doctor and his two human companions.

There was a sound from just around one of the corners of the poky ship and Jack tensed, releasing the safety catch on his gun and angling the weapon towards the noise.

"We know you're there!" he shouted, all emotion disappearing from his voice, replaced by a cold, business-like tone. Behind him, Amy exchanged a worried glance with her fiancée at the difference, only to be shushed frantically by the Doctor.

"You know?" a figure stepped from the shadows, one hand outstretched, a glinting implement threaded between the fingers. "You don't know a thing."

A shudder ran up Jack's spine, his head flicking instinctively as if he had been pumped full of electric volts. That voice – he remembered it now, from all those years buried beneath Cardiff, living and dying and suffocating, lamenting on what he had done wrong, on what he couldn't change. And those eyes – his own flicked to meet them, recoiling from the coldness that swam deep in that colour. That colour that seemed to flick from green to blue, constantly changing and shimmering, torn between itself; a perfect window onto the soul beneath.

"Gray…" he managed, his gun lowering ever so slightly, if only to disguise the shivering of his hands. The cold tone had disappeared, replaced by a tremulous timbre that was more shocking than the business tone it had replaced.

"Gray…please…"

"Please what?" those eyes swam with moisture, but the face remained composed. "It's your fault. It always was your fault. And then, after all that…" he stepped forward again, the light of the crackling lamp lighting up the object in his hand; a knife, pointed squarely at Jack's heart and already stained a deep crimson. "…you didn't even come to my rescue."

A singular tear fell from Jack's eye as Gray took another, somewhat faltering, step towards him, the knife trembling uncertainly.

"I dug myself out," Gray continued, voice as cold as ever despite his shivering body. "Out of the wreckage of the Hub. It took me hours. I nearly died, and you never came. Again, I waited for you, and you never came. And then I heard about what had happened…it confirmed all I had ever thought, that you really are a monster. You murdered your own grandson…"

A gasp rang out from Amy as Jack flinched.

"…just like you left me to die. Your own brother. And I couldn't let you get away with that, not anymore, I wouldn't let you do that to anyone else."

"You knew we were going to find you," the Doctor's voice rang out, breaking the tense air that crackled between Jack and his brother. "You knew that we would come, eventually, with the Tardis on our side; you didn't try particularly hard to hide yourself. Why?"

"I knew," Gray laughed suddenly, a sharp sound that permeated the air and sent chills through the bodies of all present. "I knew because this is the ship. The one that brought you together."

He gestured with his knife between Jack and the Doctor.

"I watched, and I waited, for such a long time. I know everything about you Jack. I know. Because you didn't steal the Ambulance, did you Jack…you found it, floating in space and took it as your own. I only had to trace further back along the timeline to know how to get the right one. And so I always knew you'd find me, eventually, and that this thing would be abandoned. That was the point…"

He took a sudden step back, his whole body tensing before he sprang to the side, darting briskly into a room to his side, opposite the doorway that he had just emerged from. Jack followed him in an instant, the clacking of heels from the Doctor and his companions a dull noise, hardly noticed, behind him.

The first thing that hit him was the smell. The acrid smell of death and blood, metallic and crisp in the air; and then the smell of an unwashed body, of sweat and piss and everything else that represented fear. It would have been animalistic, but it was human, in a way that stung in Jack's nostrils and throat. And the floor was decorated crimson, almost as if it was covered in a deep red carpet – it only took one step before Jack realised that it was a hay-like substance, drenched deep in blood.

"Oh God…" he heard a whisper from behind him, masculine but definitely not the Doctor (Rory, then), and he raised his gaze from the blood-splattered floor. Gray had bent down over something that was curled in a ball in the corner, reaching out with the knife and slicing through what Jack realised was a leather strap attached to one of the numerous railings adorning the wall of the ambulance.

When he stood up, dragging whatever it was with him to a standing position behind him, Jack could feel bile rising in his throat.

"Gray…no…please, this isn't his fault…"

"It wasn't mine, either!" that knife pressed against a pale, scrawny throat as blue, dead eyes…so familiar, oh god, when he saw the light go out of them…shone past on Jack's, barely aware. "I didn't ask for this. I didn't want this. But I had no choice!"

"There always a choice," the Doctor once again interrupted as Jack stood dumb, gun hand limp and pointing at the floor as he struggled to take his eyes away from the real, physical, living form of the man he had watched die all those months ago. "We are not defined by our hardship, but by how we respond to it."

"I don't know what else to be," the knife was trembling, the shimmering blade nicking at the flesh of the throat and drawing blood. Jack saw those eyes close as the skin was pierced, a gasping hiss sliding from between his lips as he reacted to the pain. He watched as the blue, dead eyes blinked against it, once, twice, before the eyes began to focus for the first time – and then they widened. His mouth began to move, silent words sliding past his lips, of which Jack could only make out a few…crazy…me…Jack…

"He loved you," Gray's voice once again pierced his reverie as he took a firm hold of Ianto's waist, tears falling down his face and pooling into the torn material of what had once been Ianto's shirt. "I couldn't make him love me. I wanted to, because you don't deserve that more than me." His tongue flicked out, tracing a gentle line up Ianto's neck and flicking at the lobe of his ear; Jack flinched, more at the way that Ianto showed no discernible reaction to the touch than witnessing the touch itself.

"So you make another choice, Jack…" more tears, flowing down now and choking the words as they cascaded through the open lips. "Me or him. Ten seconds. A bullet through my head, or a knife in his throat. That's the way it works. No easy ways out. I want you to have to dig, like I did, I want you to hurt, and suffer, because even if I die…even now you've got him…that'll still hurt because I changed him. Can you do that – kill me for a shadow?"

He laughed again, grinning despite the tears as he pulled tighter, pressing the knife further in to nick at Ianto's Adam's apple; and then he began to count down.

Jack's eyes flickered between the two, wildly, before a cold mist seemed to descend over them; the change was ignited before rational thought could be gathered, before his brother had even managed to reach the fifth number of his countdown. Jack raised his gun hand, ignoring the intakes of breath from the three people at his back as his finger tightened on the trigger.

"I love you, Gray," he whispered, emotion perforating the coldness for a brief second. "And I'm sorry."

And then he pulled the trigger.

 

TBC...



Chapter 11 | Masterlist | Chapter 13





Thank you again for continuing to show interest in this fiction.

Your reviews mean so much to me right now, so if you have anything to offer in the way of comments or criticism, please feel free to share them.

 

Tags: amy pond, angst, coe fix-it, eleventh doctor, fanfiction, ianto jones, jack harkness, rory williams, served cold
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