Rating: PG-13 (mostly swearing)
Pairing/Characters: Ianto; Jack; Gwen; Martha; Mickey; Rhys; Alonso; Sarah Jane Smith; OCs (Jack/Ianto and there probably will be mentions of Gwen/Rhys)
Genre: General so far, but maybe romance eventually? It is after all a Janto fic
Summary: Nine months later and Ianto wakes up from death.
Spoiler: Mentions of Children of Earth, but nothing especific, except Ianto's death, but I don't consider it a fix it fic; at least not yet.
Disclaimer: Sadly, they are not mine. I'd never kill Ianto and ruin the best cannon shipper ever!
Notes: Huge thanks to specialj67 for being my beta. Jackie, you rock!
For the second time in 48 hours, Ianto jolted awake, the sudden rush of cold air burning his lungs as he gasped desperately and fought off debilitating panic. It took a minute for him to shake away the dizziness enough to wonder if that was how Jack felt every time he came back to life. Then an unbearable pain, like something piercing through his skull like a white hot poker, made any kind of thought impossible. That’s what a bullet in the head will do to you.
Ianto tried to sit up but felt heavy shackles on his wrists and feet and a strong strap around his waist, holding him in place, biting into his skin. He thunked against the cold metal of some kind of table. He tried to open his eyes, but the near blinding light made his head throb even more.
“Welcome back to the land of living, Mr. Jones,” a voice spoke to his left. It was cold and detached. Familiar--from where? “Ethan, dim the light. I want him to look at me.”
Through his eyelids, Ianto noticed the bright lights becoming just a glow and risked opening his eyes. His head still hurt, the pain receded from unbearable to excruciating, and now barely manageable, but he was able to keep his eyes open and focused on the man standing by his head, looking down on him.
He was on his mid-fifties, body obviously built, muscles highlighted by the UNIT uniform. Ianto noticed the stripes and badge of honors--a General. His dark hair was trimmed in a military haircut and his eyes were cold, very cold, and too dark to tell the color. Ianto felt a chill ran through his spine. The man was imposing and in all honesty, slightly frightening.
“You know, I admire the intelligence and ability you showed by escaping. It was impressive, the way you hacked into our systems and triggered the fire alarms. Harkness trained you well. Tell me, do you know what we made you yet?”
“I know what you DID to me,” Ianto grunted through clenched teeth. “You apparently developed a new chromosome capable of restoring damaged and dead cells.”
“Bravo!” The General clapped his hands, and the smile hinted at no kindness. “Dr. Jones works fast. What else do you know?”
“I know that a bullet in the head obviously doesn’t kill me.” This time, he couldn't keep sarcasm out even though his expression remained blank. The General seemed very amused.
“No, it doesn’t. So far, we don’t know what can kill you permanently, but don’t worry, we will test everything.” Ianto felt honest fear gnawing his insides; the General seemed to notice that and smiled what had to be the least reassuring smile in human history. “I don’t want you to stay dead, Mr. Jones. You were the first success in our research; you are very valuable to me. Imagine the possibilities of an army of soldiers like you. Stronger, faster, immortal… The human race would be indefatigable. We’ll be able to conquer worlds, systems, galaxies… Maybe even the whole universe.”
Ianto resisted the urge to roll his eyes; even in the most dire of situations, and this qualified (even more than the time he'd been captured and held prisoner by that gasbag Lrrr from Omicron Persei 8) it was his go-to response when all else failed. If ever he had an outlet for his fear, is was his barely contained sarcasm. The General was the definition of megalomaniac. Intimidating posture: check. Evil Plan for Victory (complete with speech): check. What was next, a hairless cat for a pet? Honestly, after all he'd seen in his years with Torchwood he'd thought Evil Masterminds would have gotten a bit more original in their scheming, but judging by some of Jack's tales from the future, this was not to be. Depressing, really.
“You said I was your first success. What happened to the others?” Ianto asked curiously and just a little apprehensive. He needed to know.
“The dead subjects didn’t react.” For the first time, Ianto noticed the man in a white coat standing somewhere to his right. He couldn’t properly see him. “And the living ones…” he hesitated, clearly regretful, “they reacted badly. The chromosome mutated them. It was unstable.”
“Like Dr. Lazarus,” Ianto offered and again, the General smiled, clearly impressed.
“Very good, Mr. Jones. Yes, just like Dr. Lazarus. We shot them down. They weren't useful in that condition.”
Good God, who were these people?
“Why did it work on me?” Ianto’s voice was shaky. He hated the fact that he had just shown a sign of weakness to the other man.
“We don’t know yet.” The General started to pace. “That’s why you’re here, Mr. Jones, so we can find out what exactly makes you so special.”
Ianto looked down at himself as well as he could. He was naked and strapped to an autopsy table--great. Exactly as he feared, a freak in a lab. He looked up to the General, eyes wide in fear. He knew what they were going to do. The older man grinned.
“Yes, Mr. Jones. Dr. Sanders will perform an autopsy on you. But as you can see, you’ll be wide awake for it since...normal procedures don't apply here. No anesthetic either, for the same reason. It will be painful, very painful.”
Ianto turned his head away, biting on his cheek to stop the sobbed plea and squeezing his eyes shut to stop the tears. Now he was afraid, very afraid, and the worst thing was he didn’t even dream of a rescue. Ianto had lost all hope.
“Dr. Sanders, you may begin,” the General instructed. Even through his closed eyes, Ianto sensed the shadow looming over him before the touch of the cold scalpel digging on his skin, slicing his flesh open. Ianto screamed.
Mackenzie cursed her stupidity for the thousandth time. She should have asked the Captain for an address when he had told her to look for "Sarah Jane Smith in Ealing". Did she honestly believe she would be able to find the woman without help, or at the very least the Internet? There must be hundreds of "S. Smiths" listed in a London phonebook; how would she know which was the right one? Sure, she had it limited to one borough, but that still meant she was working with a dozen possibilities. She didn’t even want to consider the possibility of the woman not being listed; it wasn’t like she couldn’t go back to the abandoned car and ring Captain Jack.
She managed to find 8 "S. J. Smiths" in Ealing; the first 3 were males and the forth was an elderly woman called Edith Smith, but the phone was still under her dead husband’s name. Mackenzie was now in the fifth listing. It was almost midday, her stomach rumbled from hunger, and her feet throbbed from all the walking--stupid skanky party shoes. She prayed she was in the right place this time. She checked the yellow page with the marked addresses and looked up to the town house in front of her. The construction was old, but well cared for; the garden was pristine. Whoever lived here took time to maintain the place as if it was just built.
Mackenzie took a deep breath and walked up to the door, knocking twice. It took a few moments, but the door opened and a kind-looking middle-aged woman with stylish brunette hair looked at the young doctor with a slightly stern expression.
“Can I help you?” asked the woman, looking Mackenzie up and down, one eyebrow quirking in mild curiosity.
“Are you Sarah Jane Smith?” The woman’s eyebrow went a little higher.
“I’m Mackenzie Benbury, Captain Jack Harkness sent me?” Something flicked over the woman’s face--akin to recognition--and Mackenzie felt hope blossoming.
“Come on in. Jack called ahead.” Sarah Jane stepped aside, and Mackenzie sighed in relief as she walked in. Finally, she was in the right place!
Sarah Jane closed the door behind her and guided Mackenzie to a very neat living room. She took a seat on the couch and gestured the younger woman to do the same. When she hesitated, Mackenzie’s state registered in her mind. The girl was filthy. Her blouse has stained with a sickly brownish tone. Dried blood.
“Are you hurt?” Sarah asked concerned. Mackenzie looked down at herself and smiled sheepishly.
“No, I’m fine. This isn’t mine.” She paused, feeling her cheeks heating. “Would it be too much trouble if I asked for a shower?”
“Not at all,” Sarah Jane replied with an understanding smile and jumped to her feet. “There’s the bathroom upstairs. Second door to the right. There are spare towels on the cupboard below the sink. I’ll find something to wear.”
“Thank you very much, Mrs. Smith.” Mackenzie saw the discreet grimace and winced a little. Foot in the mouth. Damn!
“Sarah Jane is fine.” She smiled warmly. “Make yourself at home.” Mackenzie just nodded and disappeared up the stairs. She was dying for a shower.
Almost an hour later (She really didn’t want to abuse Sarah Jane’s welcome, but she couldn’t help lingering under the warm spray), Mackenzie emerged from the bathroom feeling more herself and found a chair by the door with a bundle of clothes. She smiled thankfully and retreated into the small room to dress. The clothes fit well enough, but it was obvious they weren't her style, judging by the labels she saw sewn in the seams. She wouldn’t dare to complain though; they were comfortable and clean and that was more that she could hope for.
After she was dressed, Mackenzie descended the stairs, scanning the sitting room for Sarah Jane, but didn’t find her. There was a corridor to the left and she headed that way, listening carefully for any indication of the woman’s presence. She heard voices when she reached a doorway that led to the kitchen and hesitated before taking a deep breath and stepping inside. Immediately, all heads turned to her and she suddenly felt very self-conscious for being the center of attention. Before she could say anything, a man--dead gorgeous, she noticed--wearing a blue-gray coat stood up.
“Mackenzie, right?” he asked. His tone was casual, but there was a hardness in his eyes.
“Captain Jack Harkness, I presume,” she said by way of answer and extended a hand to greet him. He shook quickly before turning to the others filling the room.
“Gwen, Rhys, Alonso and you’ve already met Sarah Jane.” He pointed to each hurriedly and turned back to her. “Now, tell us everything you know.”
Mackenzie pulled a chair and took a seat, realizing why Martha and Archie were so confident about Jack’s ability to resolve this whole thing. He had an air around him, a sense of authority.
“Martha, Mickey and Ianto hijacked my car and drove all the way to Glasgow. They were running from a company called McLeod Enterprises--they were the ones who brought Ianto back--”
“I told you he was alive!” Gwen interrupted her, glaring at Jack, who glared back.
“There were no evidences before to confirm that. Actually, it could still be a hoax.”
Mackenzie shook her head. “I think that possibility occurred to Martha. She checked Ianto’s DNA, and it confirmed he is who he says he is. And that brings us back to the second part of my story. Dr. Jones found an extra chromosome in Ianto’s genome.” She saw both Sarah Jane and the young man call Alonso open their mouth ready to protest and lifted her hand, asking for silence. “I know what you’re thinking. It’s impossible. That’s what I thought to, but I saw it. It was really there. Martha said it was responsible for Ianto’s resurrection. It can regenerate dead cells.”
Jack was pacing the length of the kitchen lost in thought. Mackenzie waited for a comment on his part and noticed everyone was doing the same. He looked around and sighed.
“I think I know what she’s talking about, and that level of genetic engineering isn't supposed begin until the 37th century. I get it now--why Archie was so afraid. Humanity just isn't ready for this.”
“'This' what?” Gwen asked confused.
“This extra chromosome,” Jack explained, “no one really knows how it was created, but it’s really something. The 'Superman Gene' they called it. Super speed, super strength, enhanced vision, hearing, intelligence, healing 50 times faster than a normal human being…” He paused, eyes going wide. “And then--" He stopped again, not knowing how to continue but knowing he had to. "'One of the last great unconquered frontiers for scientific exploration', is what they said. They ended up scrapping all avenues of research by the 40th century for a lot of reasons--politics and growing religious fanaticism mainly. There were these rumors, ridiculous stories about--" Jack stopped. He heard about it, especially once he got access to the Archive at the Time Agency, but it was one of those things that was so insane that he never really put any credence in it. He knew what kinds of things humanity did when they believed there were No Limits, but this was beyond the pale. Was it really true--did they really make Ianto... His voice cracked with emotion. "Immortality… Oh God, Ianto… You didn’t deserve this.”
Jack dropped on a chair, shoulders hunched, head lowered. He looked weary, almost defeated. No one dared to say anything. Only Gwen moved closer, rubbing soothing circles on his back. Mackenzie had the distinct impression he might be crying.
“What happened in Glasgow?” Gwen asked her, obviously used to take charge when Jack was unable to.
“They caught up with us, and we ran. We didn’t know what to do; we couldn’t keep running, so Mickey suggested go to a unit of some kind that Martha worked for and…” She noticed amused smiles all around and felt annoyed. “What?”
“It’s UNIT. An organization supposed to deal with alien threats,” Gwen informed with an apologetic smile. “Please continue.” She wrapped an arm around Jack's shoulders.
“Martha said she knew someone they could trust, so she contacted him. It turns out he sold them out to those McLeod people because they kidnapped his sister. And then they took Martha, Mickey and Ianto. They didn’t know I was in the car and didn’t bother to check. Lucky me.”
“Was there a woman there?” Gwen asked, and Mackenzie nodded.
“She seemed to be controlling things.”
“Must be that Waters woman,” Gwen mused looking at Jack, who seemed to have recovered a bit and was now listening intently. “They must have people inside.”
“I don’t doubt it.” He stood up suddenly. “Alright, Sarah Jane, could you get Mr. Smith to dig out everything about this McLeod Enterprises?”
“Of course.” She replied easily with a nod. She stood up to leave, but the man called Rhys reached out, stopping her.
“Is there someplace quiet where I can put Carys to sleep?” he asked, and for the first time Mackenzie noticed his was holding a bundle of pink blankets in his arms. A baby.
“Yes, of course,” Sarah Jane smiled warmly, eyes glued to the baby. “Follow me.”
Rhys stood up too, pressing a quick kiss on Gwen’s forehead as she handled him a children’s bag and followed Sarah Jane out of the kitchen.
“This woman, Emma Waters, she may not be the one running this show, but she knows who does. I want to know everything about her,” Jack continued, and this time it was Gwen who nodded.
“I’m going to see if Sarah Jane can get me a computer.”
She hurried out of the room, leaving only Mackenzie, Jack and Alonso in the kitchen. The Captain sent a pointed look to him, and Alonso quickly stood up, making excuses and walking out.
“You’re keeping something from me,” he stated in that way that was phrased as a question but really wasn't. His tone was hard and his shoulders tense. Mackenzie hesitated, unsure if she should say that little piece of information that was bothering her so much.
“That woman… Emma Waters… s-she shot Ianto,” Mackenzie finally whispered, as if speaking up would make things even more real.
“Where?” Jack’s expression was thunderous, and in that moment, Mackenzie felt a little afraid of him, dreading to tell him the truth.
“I-in the...head,” she replied, voice shaking. “She killed him.”
Jack slumped in his chair again, the anger being replaced by obvious sorrow and pain. Mackenzie felt her heart clenching.
“My poor Ianto,” he mumbled under his breath and she wondered exactly what kind of relationship the two men had shared.
“But he’s going to be okay, right?” Mackenzie asked apprehensive. “He’s going to live. You said--”
“Doesn’t mean it won’t hurt like hell,” Jack cut her off with a sigh.
“How do you know?” She was even more confused. “It sounds like you’re talking from personal experience.”
The only reply Mackenzie got was an ugly, humorless and obviously painful smile, before Jack stood up and left.