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Repaying Faith - Part 1

Title: Repaying Faith
Fandoms: Torchwood, Dark is Rising Sequence, Chronicles of Narnia, Doctor Who
Rating: T
Disclaimer: Torchwood and Doctor Who belong to the BBC, Dark is Rising Sequence to Susan Cooper and the Chronicles of Narnia to C.S. Lewis and his estate. No copywrite infingement is meant.
Characters/Pairings: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Will Stanton, Susan Pevensie, the Lady, Dran Davies, Toshiko Sato, Owen Harper, Gwen Cooper. Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness/Will Stanton, Will Stanton/Bran Davies, Jack Harkness/Susan Pevensie.
Word Count: 18,550
Summary: Joining Torchwood had been a bit of fun at first. It turns out that not all things go as expected, and they all have their penance to pay. And as one song ends, another begins.
Author's Notes: Born out of the popular fandom theory that Ianto isn't quite human, and somehow my Brain leaped to this. Inspired by be_themoon's Chronicles of Narnia/Doctor Who crossovers, and lembas7's Elijah's Cup verse. It was supposed to be fairly short, but kind of ran away with me. It also pulls together quite a few ideas I've had for a while, so there may well be more written in the verse. (This currently stands as the longest thing I've ever written).

So, what do you need to read this fic? This covers the storyline of Torchwood Season's One and Two, so a familiarity with that would be good, as some of it is not fully explained. The entire Dark is Rising sequence is covered, but it is explained in this fiction – fairly late on – but you should be okay; a familiarity with "The Dark is Rising" novel would be good, and The Grey King and Silver on the Tree are recommended reading. For Chronicles of Narnia; it covers what happens to Susan post-Last Battle, but if you're familiar with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe you should be fine.

: Repaying Faith :

Joining Torchwood had been a bit of fun at first. It turns out that not all things go as expected, and they all have their penance to pay. And as one song ends, another begins.


He'd taken Torchwood London to infiltrate simply because it was easiest: Cardiff and therefore Wales was still to close to Bran to feel comfortable (and there was no way he was going to Scotland to infiltrate Torchwood Two). A name change, a fake history and he was set. His test scores were off the scale, he was sure, but no one ever mention it, so he starts to live the life of junior researcher. He meets Lisa and even at the end still isn't quite sure what their relationship is: when you are the last of your kind, nothing is that simple.

He likes it well enough at Torchwood London. He doesn't quite understand the alien artefacts and everyone blabbering about outer space and other worlds and advanced technology and this never ending quest to find the Doctor, who had apparently angered Queen Victoria at some point. Which was fairly simple to do, really, as he had met her on one of his walks through time, and had ended up in a fair bit of trouble himself.

London is nice; he worries about the simple things, and the city does not have the charm or the legends of Cornwall, the welsh hills, or his Buckinghamshire home. He visits it so rarely now, usually pretending to be his own son, and for some miracle it works. Barney, Jane and Simon are part of the distant past; Bran lost to him. The Old Ones are gone, and only the Lady remains, for reasons unbeknownst to him, and she is waiting for a miracle of her own.

-x-

One of twenty-seven survivors: not by chance, oh no, he had seen it coming, the Lady warning him as he slept that night, but he cannot warn anyone, not even Lisa, who he has come to love, because that is not how it works. He sees the Doctor as he leaves, that impossible man whose role in all this is still not quite clear and he wishes Merriman was here to clear up exactly what his purpose was in all this. But Will still has something to do at Torchwood, he does not know what to do with himself otherwise. And then there is Lisa, and Will will not leave her like that, if simply because he feels responsible for what happened to her.

He meets the Lady in her mansion that she inhabits these days, still slightly out of time and not fully released from her duties: what is still for her to do is unclear, but he is glad that she is here now if only for the fact that she provides a comforting voice for him to hear. "Will Stanton" she says, standing on the porch as he approaches. She is young today, dark hair falling over her shoulders and piercing eyes that follow Will's every move.

"It's Ianto Jones now," he corrects. He reaches her and they both step inside the house. She calms him, sorts through his worries in the way she always has, and they plan their strategy. Whatever reason Will originally entered Torchwood for is forgotten – being honest, he cannot remember himself. Torchwood Three in Cardiff is the next plan, and though reluctant to go back to Wales, needs must, for Lisa, who is currently being kept alive by a web of magic, but it will not sustain her long. Captain Jack Harkness will fall easily for a pretty face, the Lady is all too aware of this, and she gives Will counsel, as well as a place for the night. The offer is there for longer, but Will wants to be off as soon as possible, so he leaves.

As he does so, the Lady speaks to him again. "Are you sure you wish to do this, Will?" He does not bother correcting the name, it has all blurred together by now. "Are you sure she's worth saving?"

"Everyone's worth saving," Will replies. It is his honest belief. "I am the watchman, and they say the twenty first century is when everything changes. I need to be there, watching them. Lisa doesn't deserve what has happened to her. I can try and fix her." Privately, the Lady thinks that even after almost 30 years, Will is starting to go slightly mad, and she realises that he needs to do this, as his penance for not being able to help. Just as she is doing hers.

-x-

"Ianto," Jack calls. Down in the archives, Will thinks it should be obvious that he shouldn't be able to hear Jack's cries (the only reason he can is because of a minor perk of being an Old One), but the Captain seems to expect him to hear them anyway. "Ianto? You're still on trial remember? Let me hear those beautiful welsh vowels." There he went again, Will thought, constant remindance that Ianto was not necessarily a permanent addition to the Torchwood staff, and the constant flirting and harassment the Lady had warned him accompanied the Captain wherever he went.

Might as well open up the comms so Jack could hear his reply. "I'm down in the archives, sir?" he says back. Lisa has been set up and is currently fine. He regrets the decision to bring her here already, but there is nothing that can be done now. The events are already set in motion.

"So what do you think of this place?" Jacks asks, appearing at the door. He has left the greatcoat in his office – thank lord for small mercies – but the military style of dress is still there. Will prefers his suits. And then he wonders if he's supposed to answer honestly or whether to make it up.

"Honestly sir?" he asks. Jack nods. "I think the archives are a tip and wonder how anyone ever let them get this bad."

"That bad, eh?" Jack chuckles, and Will knows he's made the right choice. There is a pause that enters the room, as Will turns back to his work, but then Jack speaks up again. "I was thinking... I know you're not going to enter the field anytime soon, but I was looking at the records from Torchwood One, and saw you had had basic weapons training."

"What of it, sir?" Will asks. He hates guns, and the less time he has to spend near them the better.

"I was wondering if you'd like a refresher?" Jack asks, that smile on his face, and Will finds himself saying yes before he can even get his thoughts together, because Jack is there and has managed to win him over with that smile. And if Suzie's knowing smirk the next morning is anything, he's done exactly the same with the rest of the team as well. Somehow, Will doesn't feel cheapened by it.

-x-

If anyone asked him – not that anyone would, as his new colleagues at Torchwood Three seem delightfully uninterested in his life, and the only other person he talks to these days is the Lady who, he thinks, would be above such idle gossip – he would be utterly unable to tell them how he'd managed to fall into whatever it was he shared with Jack Harkness. It's crude and ridiculous, Jack not caring about him or actually knowing anything about him, and for Will, he is reaching for something that he doesn't quite know what it is.

Nevertheless, he allows himself to be led to Jack Harkness's bed whenever the captain wishes. He rains kisses against his neck, relishing the feeling of skin on skin. During the day, he jokes about Jack's sexual harassment issues, while Jack only talks to him when necessary. It distracts Jack from the fact that he's hiding a cyberman in the basement – seriously, what part of him had ever thought that was a good idea – and that is all that matters, as he really doesn't want to incur the wrath of Jack. He's seen it in action, and wishes no part in it.

-x-

He knows there's something up with Suzie even before that young, dark haired, welsh woman barged in and made a complete mess and uprooted everything they had known. He ignores It at first, wrapped up in Lisa and watching and waiting and hoping desperately that it isn't what he fears, but the truth is irrevocable, and Suzie was worrying him, with that glove that could bring people back to life – he doesn't like the sound of it, because it goes against everything he knows. He suspects there is wild magic in the glove somewhere, he can sense something at least, and that means he can't interfere.

He catches her at it one day. He doesn't mean too, it just happens as he is wandering around Cardiff one night. Plunging the knife into someone's heart, he thanks that she didn't come across him – because then he'd have to explain quite exactly why she couldn't stab him, and then he'd face Jack and it would all go badly badly wrong. Jack gets the call from the Cardiff police, Will hides round the corner as he watches Suzie bring the man back to life. He says nothing of any interest. Will doesn't see the point of this entire experiment, but this is how it goes. He has no power to stop her doing it, she will just laugh in his face – and probably try and shoot him as well.

He supposes he ought to tell someone, tell Jack that it is her doing it, that she is dangerous. Yet, that will draw attention to himself, and that is the one thing he doesn't want to do.

-x-

Gwen has all of Jane's bad qualities and none of her good ones, Will decides. It is an assumption based on very little, but then, she hasn't made an effort to get to know him either. He struggles to like her, but brings her coffee just like everyone else. She just assumes that she knows better than them; better than Jack, who is in charge, better than Tosh, who can make Gwen have never existed if it takes her fancy, better than Owen, who despite being an arsehole, can be wonderful at times and does have a heart, better than Will who has years of experience on her.

She makes him evaluate everyone else there as well. He knows her estimation of Owen is completely wrong; a bit of digging had revealed exactly why the man is such a pain – losing the woman he loved in such circumstances couldn't have been easy, and Jack has the least tact in the world, really he does, he thinks as he watches Jack trying to deal with the aftermath. And Toshiko is a much more tortured soul than he realises, as he watches her mother go about her day to day life with no recollection of the events that have made her daughter so distant.

As for Jack, well he's still a mystery. But Will feels that he is supposed to be that way, that Jack just wouldn't be Jack unless you didn't know anything about him.

-x-

He doesn't know quite how it all happened. It is a mystery to him. He was performing the needed maintenance on Lisa; if he was honest, he was considering simply letting her go, and it had gotten to the point where the bit of Lisa that was still Lisa was encouraging him to do it – and he wasn't that much of an idiot to not realise that parts of Lisa had been converted and she wasn't herself completely anymore. He had seen little of it, preferring to keep it suppressed with magic.

But then the Hub is in lockdown, and he is down in the cells, and he knows – he just knows – that everything has gone badly wrong, and then Lisa is out and he can't even keep his thoughts straight. Jack is pointing a gun at him, and he is faintly aware of Tosh's screams behind him. He bullshits, of course he does, explaining why he'd really done it was too complicated. "One survivor. She's the only one. Can't I just try to save one person. Is there something so wrong about that, Jack?" he tries to pull on Jack's nerves, pulling on the compassionate side which he knows is there.

Jack keeps a steely look of disdain on his face, but Will can tell he empathises. "Not when other people have to die because of it, Ianto." Jack is right of course, and Will agrees to help kill Lisa – with the condition they do it humanely, though that is fast becoming a rather difficult course of action to take, with very few weapons and a cyberman on the warpath. Jack almost dies, Tosh barely escapes, and Will reaches into the strings of the Old Magic to try and shield everyone from as much harm as he can.

It shames him that it has taken this long for him to realise what his duty as watchman is.

-x

It's over, Will realises. It is the closest he has ever gotten to falling under the influence of the dark. The Battle of Canary Wharf haunts him, but it will not be as bad as the memory of this – everything almost lying in ruins because of him. A two week suspension. Jack calls it a break – time to collect his thoughts, get over it. He supposes it's mercy that he doesn't call UNIT, which would not end well. But still, a break. Will's not due one of those until the end of time.

He spends the first few days in his flat in Cardiff, sorting his life out. Jack checks in on him one day, informing him that the Torchwood clean up operation has been successful – Will hates the fact that they can erase lives like that – and that Toshiko has asked for permission to be allowed into the archives. Will says yes, as long as it's only her, and she leaves everything for him to replace. He may have all the time in the world, but that doesn't mean he's going to be spend it organising the Torchwood archives. He notices the tortured look on Jack's face as he leaves, and feels truly sorry for the damage he's done.

He goes up to the welsh mountains for a week. He haunts the places of his childhood, making sure he doesn't run into anyone he knew. The halls of the Brenin Llwyd are dark no more, and he sits on the old path of Cadfans Way without any trouble. He watches Bran's cottage, watches the white haired man stand then, utterly unreconcilable – so he thinks – with the boy of his youth, the bright eyed child of Arthur. Part of Will desperately wants to speak with him, while another part of him knew it was absolutely wrong and that he would have to live with the deception of what happened.

He hates it. He hates all of it. There are days when he wishes desperately that he'd never come across the Rider and the Walker, or Merriman Lyon, or that Stephen had never sent those presents for him; that he was never chosen to be an Old One. That he should never have chosen to go to Torchwood is something that weighs in the back of his mind, but never comes to the forefront – Jack is something he doesn't regret, just as he doesn't regret Bran, and he takes back all of his hate if it means he can get Bran back, But Bran made his choice and Will has to live with that.

-x-

He knows that there are horrible things in the Welsh Countryside – the Brenin Llwyd was evidence enough of that – but he had never expected this. He wonders momentarily what Bran would think of this entire situation, or Simon, or Barney (but not Jane. He knew her well enough to know that her reaction would have been exactly as Gwen's is), but then he realises he doesn't even care, and all he really wants is a nice comfortable bed and to never have to go on a field mission again. Jack is still sitting with Gwen, who desperately needs to know why, clinging to her chance for closure and an explanation. Will knows what humans are capable of in the right circumstances, the betrayal when they choose the wrong path.

Even Tosh and Owen wander with looks of suspended disbelief on their faces, though neither with the open shock that Gwen has; they have hardened to the world, and Will knows that their lives have been less than kind to them, unlike Gwen, who has had everything she has ever wanted or needed. It is Jack here who fascinates Will, the man who seems suitably disgusted with the situation, but with the calmness and authority of one who has seen this sort of scene far too many times.

-x-

It is after the second incident with Suzie and he propositioned Jack; after all if Barney had had courage enough to put out that book of Arthurian legends and illustrations that Will had seen in the store the other day, he had enough to at least pull whatever is left of his relationship with Jack Harkness back together. And then Jack confides in him that there is something of Torchwood that no-one else knew about.

"It's just," Jack attempts to explain, but he's not good with words – just like Bran, Will thinks, "I saw all these people taken by the rift and brought back, and the old Torchwood; the one before I was leader, the one that had Yvonne in charge and followed Queen Victoria to the letter, they never did anything to stop it, or deal with the consequences. Some were locked in cells, and some were just shot. So I set up a refuge for them. You've probably seen it on the funds; I try and do as much myself, but I think they deserve some of the main Torchwood funds."

Will cannot help but agree. It is horrific that these things have happened. It is startling; people, not only out of their time, but having experienced the most horrendous things. Hawkin springs to mind, and he utters a small prayer thanking that nothing like this happened to his family, or the Drews, or god forbid, Bran. The human cost of the rift is rammed into him, and like so many other times in his life, Will is reminded of the price of the actions of the universe, and the decisions one can make on a whim.

He takes the duty of Flat Holm off Jack's hands as much as possible, organising everything, but Jack still remains involved. It seems like a penance for something, just as they're all doing, though Will really doesn't know what Jack's is for.

-x-

He worries about Toshiko when she comes into the hub that day, when Gwen and Owen are being silly and Jack useless. He recognises that she is doubting herself, that she is looking for her place in life. She settles down to work like she always does, and he decides to bring her a cup of coffee.

She looks up at him slowly as he does so, and then he feels the faint presence of someone trying to read his mind. Minor level psychic training at Torchwood One had prepared him for it, and as an Old One he could keep himself guarded perfectly adequately. He puts up a front for her to see, what he thinks she thinks she will find inside Ianto's mind, and it appears to work, as she doesn't question him on it.

He wonders, of course, how she had got the power, and he notices a slim silver chain around her neck that he has his suspicions of. And Jack is on the trail, as he always is, because he does pay more attention than any of them give him credit for, and that is enough.

-x-

It is Will's and Gwen's first encounter with Rift time victims that day. Jack has seen too many, Will can see it in his eyes, and Tosh and Owen have encountered them before. It's not the first time Will's encountered people out of time, but it's the first like this and he'll have to deal with the consequences, as it is almost certain that there will be no way he can take these people back home, and Will will have to deal with that.

Knowing Jack as he does, he is surprised at the lack of tact Jack shows to deal with the situation. He gets lumbered with the introduction to modern life – the supermarket – most likely because none of the rest of the team actually remember what a supermarket looks like (not to mention Jack just looks like a child in a candy store, just like these people do now). He has to remember what is normal now and what is normal to them, and not get mixed up with his normality, which is a mish mash of everything.

John Ellis is reacting badly, he can tell, like Bran, not wanting to believe what is going on in front of him, but that is it. Emma Louise will live, he thinks, and trying to get a read on Diane is impossible. He will leave her to Jack, because it's not his job to deal with them.

"Everything's changed," John observes.

Will chuckles at the statement, and the three look at him oddly. "Throughout the whole of human history, the only constant is change. Is that not what wars are fought over? Is that not why you came here? This is the way it is, and things will keep evolving, threads wrapping together to form a great history and a rising of light."

Diane looks oddly at him, Emma-Louise doesn't even try, and John just says, "That was oddly philosophical. Does Torchwood turn you old before your time as well, or is that just you?"

-x-

He is really quite worried when he finds his car keys are missing. Not just because he really can't be bothered with the hassle of finding another car, but because he is genuinely concerned about what John is going to do. He doesn't know whether to call Jack and let him deal with it, or whether to go after John himself, but ultimately lets Jack take control because he is the captain and is out of time enough himself to be the greatest help; no matter how old he is and how much of the world he has seen, he was still born after they disappeared.

It is oddly quiet in the hub, even though they have new people, with only him and Toshiko there. He worries about Owen, and that he is getting too close to Diane, and hopes deeply that it doesn't end in disaster, as Owen has had enough misery in this life. Only, life is never fair to the members of Torchwood, and Owen ends up heartbroken and angry and desperate enough to just do anything to stop the hurt, which true to form, ends in disaster.

-x-

He and Owen call Gwen and ask her to go to the old music hall, but Will regrets it as soon as he starts to put the pieces together. Gwen is completely unable to deal with the crossing and blurring of times that the situation presents. And Owen is being of no help whatsoever, fiddling with the rift controls with the determination of a man who has lost the one he loves.

And mutiny is something Will has never handled well. Jack might be useless and a complete arse most of the time, but he was their leader and he cared deeply about them really, and they needed him – and yet, Will knew that Jack wouldn't want them to destroy the world over getting him back. Too bad Owen and Gwen weren't quite of the same mindset. He hated this time space alien thing sometimes. If he could just get to the music hall, maybe he could do something, though how he would explain it, or whether it would actually work, was another matter.

He hates feeling helpless, and that is precisely what he is at that moment. But he knows that he is worth more than what Owen says, knows that he means more to Jack than that, knows that he is more important to the world. After all, he can't give up now, can he?

-x-

Will knew when he saw Lisa in the cells things were not good. Seeing the dead didn't do much for anyone, and it was most commonly used as a trick of the Dark – who were all gone, surely? But then he sees Bran standing on the plass, begging him to help, to open up the rift and save him, and though Will knows it's not true, he can't help it. Bran still holds that sway over him after all that time.

-x-

He can't quite believe that Owen shot Jack, but then again, he can't quite believe that they're doing this anyway. As if he didn't know enough about the havoc that the dark could wreak upon the world, he'd gone and looked up what everyone else had to say on the subject just to irritate Jack – but Jack hadn't listened, and was instead prophesying his own version of doomsday.

Because destroying the world is certainly not in Will's day to day list of things to do, even if saving it is, which is why when Jack starts breathing again after being shot he just gets on with it, getting Jack his coat and dragging him out of the hub to try and assess the situation. And it seems that to trump all the horrible things the Dark have ever sent for Will to deal with, there is now a giant monster roaming over Cardiff set free by a break in time and space and that is pretty horrifying and Will will openly admit that he has no idea how to go about dealing with that at the present moment of time.

It doesn't exactly help that Jack has got a death grip on his arms and is just a little too close for comfort, severely impeding Will's ability to think, and it hurts more than he knew when Jack has a plan and only trusts Gwen to execute it, because she has been as much a part of this rebellion as they all had – she and Owen had been the instigators after all – and hell, he is a lot more likely to be helpful that she is. Only, of course, Jack doesn't know that, because that's just not the way the world works.

"Why'd he take her?" Owen yells. Toshiko stands there stunned, wondering is they should do something while Jack goes off to try and save the world. "I'm serious. Why the hell does he take miss fancy pants, I'm better than the rest of you? She's a right hypocrite, he said so himself. The rest of us may be messed up –"

"But at least we're consistently that way?" Will puts in, because it is all that seems appropriate at the time.

-x-

Gwen had said that Jack couldn't die; Will wasn't so sure, as he seemed pretty dead, and he knew that normal men chosen to shoulder the burden of immortality – for a time at least – never survived very well. The captain was fairly mad, but not that far gone. Even if it did make sense, and explained an awful lot of things. Sitting in Jack's office, wishing that the Lady was contactable by phone, he buries his face into Jack's coat and realises just how much he misses him. If Jack really couldn't die it would mean he wouldn't have to face the centuries alone.

He thinks he senses it when Jack pulls back into life, but he ignores it, until Toshiko had left his side, and there is Jack, beautiful, wonderful Jack, and he is there, and Jack pulls him into his arms, and it is warm and comfortable, and then Jack kisses him and he is home.

-x-

Will's main recollection of Jack's disappearance is the splitting headache that appeared in his head. And then there is the election; Harold Saxon is bad news, but nobody seems to see it. It is like they are being manipulated, something inside their heads, but whatever it is it is not affecting Will.

And then the team are sent to the Himalayas, and time goes badly wrong.

-x-

They had left Ianto Jones behind on that mission to the Himalayas. Someone needed to man the Hub after all, and he didn't believe Saxon's claims. He sees as the World comes crashing down, standing on the Plass as the Toclafane descend – protected by the power of Light. He will need to talk with the Lady. They must stand united if they stand a chance against the dark.

The Hub must be secured. Will is still unconvinced of the power of alien weapons compared to that of the artefacts of the Light, but they can still do significant damage, so he activates the Hub's lock down procedures, lacing it with his own magic, warding it from anyone who tried to break in – he will know if someone tries. The Lady meets him halfway: Bristol, it is destroyed by the Toclafane. She is younger than he has ever seen her.

They have no weapon. Jane, Barney and Simon are gone, the protection of the Light is not strong enough for them; Bran will not answer. He is not dead – they would know if the son of Pendragon was lost, even if he had rejected that title long ago, but he is uncontactable, and that is not good. And since Jack has disappeared, and Will knows how Saxon had sent Torchwood away to be rid of them, he has lost his own resources. "You know that if the Master succeeds, the Dark will rise again, and there will be no stopping it," the Lady says as they stand and survey the city.

"I will not let that happen. I swore to protect this world, and I will do so to the end," Will replies.

-x-

"All your team destroyed, Jack," the Master says at the start of one of their torture sessions one day. "Tell me, how does it feel? To know that they all died because you chose to run off with your stupid Doctor." Jack stays silent. He refuses to be baited like this. "Except," the Master carries on, bringing Jack's attention to a video screen. "This one. Ianto Jones. For some reason, he wasn't in the Himalayas. Any reason why Jack?" Jack remains silent again, if this time, because he doesn't know the answer. "Tea-boy and Butler, was he? I don't think so. He's a worse renegade than Miss. Martha Jones, and that's saying something. Tried to blow up Japan to get her, and even that didn't work. So tell me Jack," he pauses momentarily. "How is it that your part-time shag manages to escape the Archangel network?"

-x-

He has now realised what an easy a time they had fighting the Dark before. Compared to this, at least. The whole world living in fear – the Lady reminds him that this is what he prevented last time. They have been separated for so long, but now their paths have crossed again, if only for a night before going their separate ways once again. But that night is all that is needed for the Master's forces to sweep in, and they have the Lady, who has been growing weaker and weaker as the year wears on. And Will goes after her.

He ends up, captured on the Valiant; the plan had been to trade himself for the Lady, but good plans never work out quite the way they are planned. So they are both captured, and brought before the Master. "Ianto Jones," the Master whispers, in a voice laced with control and glee and all manner of horrible things. "And his companion," he looks at the Lady, examining her fiercely.

"Will Stanton," he corrects. "And she is the Lady, and you would do well to treat her with respect." There are gasps uttered by some of the watching crew. Clearly no one has spoken like this to the Master in quite a long while.

"Oh, is that so?" the Master replies. He takes a step closer to the Lady, cool fingers grabbing her chin.

The Lady stands her ground. "Fingers cool as ice. I met an ice queen once. She died at my brother's hand." She pauses. Will does not know where she is going with this. "When he bears his teeth, winter meets its death. And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again. I only hope that this is true here as well."

The Master steps back. "Well, what's that supposed to mean? I've had enough of riddles. Take her away. See if Harkness knows this one as well." They take her, and Will struggles to stay still. The Master walks towards him. "And what of you... what was it, Will Stanton? Whatever was wrong with Ianto Jones? And how they bloody hell did you escape from the Archangel network?"

Will finds a smile from somewhere. "Wouldn't you like to know. When the Dark comes rising, six will turn it back. I'd like to think that still holds true this time"

-x-

The Lady stands watching Jack in his cell. The Master has already been in, forcing the daily punishment on Jack. He is very different now to the man she once knew, before the High Magic called upon her, taking her from her time – but not her world – and giving her a task. It is hard, staying invisible, and out of sight; she slipped the guards, and the Master has not been able to find her since. But Will is in the cells, faithful to the end to his captain, and she must tread the path between, her punishment from turning from the High Magic in the first place. And as such, she is unable to help. She has overstepped her boundaries too much already.

-x-

"How are you doing it?" Jack asks one day when the Master has played nice and put them both in the same cell; Jack still in his restraints, but Will is free to move about, as the Master seems to think he is not a threat on-board the Valiant, merely a conundrum waiting to be solved. No doubt he's left the two to talk in hopes of overhearing something. "Ianto?" Jack asks again when Will doesn't reply.

He looks up. "Huh?"

"The escaping, staying alive. It doesn't sound like you, Ianto," Jack says. "The Master said you'd escaped the Archangel network. Even I couldn't manage that one."

Will turns to look at Jack. The exhaustion from all the days of torture is clear on his face. He is not thinking this through properly. "He's listening to this, you realise?" he points out.

"Of course. And we listen to him: he likes to show us what's happening on the Flight Deck sometimes." Jack nods his head towards a small television screen in the corner of his cell. "I saw when you were first brought in. I don't get it. And you had Susan with you – looking the same as I last saw her back in the fifties. We don't have another Timelord on our hands, do we Ianto? I'd have hoped that I'd have noticed. You don't have a chameleon arch stashed somewhere, do you?" He remembers what Martha had told him about the Time Lord ability to rewrite their biology thing.

"No," Will replies. "I'm not a Timelord, though that description probably has been attributed to my kind at some point over the years. And my name's not Ianto. I set up that a few years ago to infiltrate Torchwood. You heard me correct the Master, surely? My name is Will Stanton; my companion is the Lady. I am an Old One; she is of the High Magic. I am the last one of my kind, and it is my duty to stop this current manifestation of the Dark. Even if I don't have any idea how to do it."

"I've heard some mad things in my time, but this tops it," Jack replies. "Susan isn't of the High Magic, I know that. Neither were her siblings. And, to top that, you are aware that magic doesn't exist, right, Ianto?"

"That's what they all say," Will replies. "And I see neither you nor the Master can offer an explanation to why he can't kill me."

-x-

It turns out that old prophecies can hold true more than once. Six do turn the dark that has come rising back, though a very different six to the original; Martha, Tish, Francine and Clive Jones, with Captain Jack Harkness and the Doctor taking their stand against the Master. Will has by this point been locked in a sealed cell and buried in the mountains somewhere. The Lady stands and watches as once again the Light triumphs. She hopes her time ends soon, as she does not look forward to having to aid the Dark.

Time is rewritten. Only those standing on the Valiant, at the very eye of the storm, remember it. Will Stanton, watchman, is left with only an inkling of what has happened.

And the Lady stands and watches the earth, her hair silver white and blowing in the wind, and she knows that her time is almost done.

-x-

Gwen, Tosh and Owen come back from the Himalayas, Owen moaning about the pointlessness of the trip, and Gwen is irritated at the entire sequence of events; plus the fact that no one wants to tell her what's going on. Will knows something went wrong with the time stream, it echoes in the back of his head – memories of Jack and the Lady and a ship, a women named Martha Jones and the Doctor – but he doesn't know what it means, and the lost year is nothing to him. Jack is still nowhere to be found, so they go on.

It is an empty space in Will's life he hasn't found since he lost Bran and all his memories. Watching and waiting is never enough, and that year-that-wasn't tugs at him and says, you had a purpose then. And he hates it.

-x-

Jack has the worst timing in the world, Will concludes at the end of that night; when Jack is back, and John is dealt with and gone – dear lord, John. Will hates time travellers. They mess with his head – and the team is back together and safe. And asking for a date in the middle of an investigation? Not very Jack like at all. Asking for dates itself wasn't a Jack like behaviour.

And there is something off about him. The way he looks at Will, confused, doubting and wondering, as if he knows something. And then there is how he looks at the rest of the team, as if the moment he turns his backs they will disappear and Jack will be left alone again.

The team clear out quickly after they are done that day, Gwen going home to Rhys, Tosh to bed, and Owen to whichever bar he wishes to frequent that night – some habits still don't die. Will decides that the paperwork can screw itself, and heads up to Jack's office, finding him sorting through the various bits and bobs that had ended up on his desk during the months he was gone. "Sir?" Will questions, and Jack looks up.

"Ianto," Jack replies, looking up. "Not gone home yet?"

"No, sir," Will replies, with the politeness he has always had. Part of the result of being a part of a very large family, after all. "Thought I'd seen how you were."

"I've told you to drop the sir and just call me Jack," he sighs. "I meant it about that date, Ianto. One night, we'll get the others to take care of any of the rift alerts, and we'll have a night out, just you and me."

Privately, Will is not so sure about it. But he responds anyway. "Of course Jack."

Jack wishes that Ianto – or Will, whatever he wished to be called – would stop this charade of his. But he has no idea of what happened during that year, and Jack remembers it all. Alone.

-x-

It all comes to head during the Tommy Brockless incident. That conversation he had with Jack that night before they sent Tommy back reveals a lot. Will says things he never thought he'd say, admitting that he'd miss Jack – because, lets face it, he'd spent an awful long time waiting for Jack to come along, and he wasn't going to give him up any time soon. Jack's answers about him being out of time remind him of that conversation he'd had with Bran once, asking if he'd have preferred it if his mother had just left him in his own time (for the record, his answer had been no, Bran taking Will's hand and looking quite seriously into his eyes).

And then Tommy is back in the hospital, in his own time, only it is still not right again, and Jack is preparing to go back there and get him to use that darn rift key. But Toshiko volunteers instead, and she is strapping into the strange equipment that Will doesn't try to understand, because he thinks it would be far simpler just to use magic, but this is a high technology society. She does it though, and time returns to normal.

"I hope she's going to be okay," Will comments to Jack, referring to Toshiko, who has left, though Owen has gone after her. Once again, Gwen has disappeared off to Rhys, probably to sort out more of her wedding plans. "Poor Tommy, going through all of it and saving the world only to go back and die in that horrible war."

"Sometimes," Jack says. He wonders what to tell Will, whether to tell him about the atrocities of war, or the sacrifices that are necessary, or if Will is all too aware of these things already. "We have to make sacrifices to win a war. Sometimes, good men and women suffer. Sometimes they are dragged from their time." Will turns to Jack, looking curiously across the desk. "Will."

"Ianto," he replies immediately, with a raised eyebrow to Jack's statement. "My name is Ianto, not Will. Whatever gave you that idea, sir?"

"Your name is Will Stanton. Seventh son of a seventh son. Am I right?"

"That name and those records were buried long ago," Will replies harshly. It is a front he has kept up so long he doesn't know what to do with himself without it. He does not know how Jack found out.

"Buried, but not forgotten. You told me yourself. You knew something was different when I came back, I could tell, even if you never mentioned it," Jack stands, reaching his hand out to brush Will's cheek. "You called yourself an Old One. Y0u told me magic existed. You can bring people out their time; I know. You had a companion – Susan, I knew her. She had been pulled out of time. I suspect by you."

"I don't know a Susan," is Will's reply.

"You called her the Lady, I believe."

"I do not know her circumstances, and they are not my fault, Jack," Will replies. "Though my kind have pulled plenty out of time before."

-x-

"What happened in that year?" Will asks one day. They are sitting in Jack's office again, Jack mindlessly filling out paperwork while trying to replicate some semblance of normality in the office (and also not incur Will's wrath). "I mean – there was obviously something that went on that affected you, and there's something in the back of my head, memories that never happened and don't make sense, but seem to connect with what you say."

"You have to be time sensitive, don't you?" Jack says. The year-that-never-was was a hard subject – the Doctor had given him and Martha however much time they needed, back on the TARDIS, but it still didn't mean he was ready to talk about it. He had left, needing the only to be back with his team. "It's just..." Jack struggles to explain quite what it is.

"There are some things that you'd rather not say because they're just complicated, right?" Will replies. Jack mutters a small sound of agreeance. Will moves closer, hand resting on Jack's shoulder. "I know. I've faced enough in my time. I can't help if you don't tell me."

Jack takes a deep breath. Will's hand on his shoulder is a reassuring presence. "When I took off, after Abaddon... the TARDIS took us to the end of the universe. We found someone there, an old enemy of the Doctor's. He stole the TARDIS and came back here. Harold Saxon. He'd set up this telepathic field connecting the entire human race, influencing them. He brought these creatures – the Toclafane, a children's story really. I found out afterwards that they were the remnants of the human race, from the end of the universe. The Master – that's what Harold Saxon really was, he captured us, the Doctor, me, Martha Jones and her family. Martha escaped, travelling the world, trying to save the human race. You... the Master sent Torchwood to the Himalayas, he slaughtered them. You stayed behind. You and your Lady. You ran from the Master, trying to save the world in your own little ways. He captured you. Tortured you. Tried to find out what you were, how you were doing what you were doing, how you were managing to survive. Eventually he just gave up and trapped you in a locked box and abandoned you somewhere. We defeated him in the end, Martha saving the day. He died in the Doctor's arms."

"There's more to it than that," Will says. It is hard to absorb a year's worth of information, but he knows that Jack is not telling him everything. "Please, just tell me." He pulls Jack closer, trying to make sure Jack felt he was safe.

Jack sighs, leaning back into Will. "He tortured me. Tried to see if there was anything to make me stay dead. New and creative methods of killing."

Will doesn't know what to say in reply to that, so he just holds Jack as tears fall for both of them and he realises just how darn lucky he is that he doesn't remember that year.

-x-

"Ianto," Jack says. Will looks up. "I've got a guest coming. Martha Jones. You remember her?"

Will remembers the dark skinned woman who he had come across at one point during that year. Her words were one of the few things which ring clear from that time, though he doubts she remembers him. "Yes, I remember," he replies. "Any reason why, or is it just a survivors catch up?"

"You doubt my intentions?" Jack questions with those wriggling eyebrows of his. Will just glares at him. "She's been working on something and wants to check out something in Wales. And who am I to turn down a visit from that wondrous nightingale?"

Will chuckles. "I'll keep my eye out for her. Should I inform her that you are under the impression that she's a high and fancy bird, or should I leave that to you?"

-x-

Copley's got a gun. He'll shoot, Will knows it. And that stupid fool Owen is trying to stop him. He stands there as Owen gives his speech about rational men, doing something completely irrational, muttering words of Old Speech under his breath, trying to form a shield that would protect them. Jack isn't ready to lose any of them again. He or Jack would go up and take the bullet themselves, but they are worried that any sudden movements would set Copley off. Gwen is looking at him like he's insane; Will thinks that from her point of view, she's probably correct, as all she can hear is gibberish coming from his mouth.

The bang of the gun echoes round the open space, and Will gasps as it hits the shields. He thinks that Owen is probably looking rather surprised right now, he knows Copley is. Copley trains the gun on the young man who is currently bent double, and Jack isn't quite sure what's going on or what to do. Will straightens up and he is fine, though Copley seems to want to shoot again, and Owen is off talking – the idiot. Will preps the shields again, but Copley shoots twice, and though he feels the impact of one of them, he doesn't the other. Owen collapses, the sound of a gun goes off again, this time from next to him, and this time it is Copley who lies on the floor dead.

They have rushed over to Owen, and Jack calls desperately for his help. "Will," he cries, "you must be able to do something." If the rest of the team look oddly at him, he doesn't notice, and he does the only thing he can think of doing. He takes Owen out of time.

-x-

"Will Stanton," she says, dark hair falling over her eyes. "I know many people who have done stupid things in their time, and I have done plenty myself, but I think this tops it."

Will looks at Owen's body – suspended in time – and back up at the Lady and is forced to admit she is right. "Jack," he says, as if that is an explanation for everything. She prompts him to go further. "He asked me to. I needed to do something. I couldn't just leave Owen like this. Not after that year."

The Lady's eyebrows raise just very slightly, acknowledging that fact. "You think I can heal him?" she asks. "Because I am telling you right now, it is not within my power to heal him. That power was never mine. It belonged to my sister, and her alone, and was a gift that none of us could take from her."

"We have to be able to do something about it," Will pleads. He can't go back with a dead Owen. It betrays all the trust that Jack has put in him.

The Lady thinks on it for a moment. "We can slow his body down. Slow the passage of time. So that wound will take an eternity to kill him. Dull his pain receptors," she says. "His body won't function properly, but it would save him."

"What about movement? And speech?" Will asks. "Somehow, I don't think Jack or anyone else would appreciate an Owen who is alive but can't do anything."

" We can localise the time slowing. Make it specific. And hope for the best," the Lady replies. "Will, there's nothing else I can suggest. It's this or nothing." Will agrees, and the Lady instructs him on what he needs to do, and they stand there, hands entwined, looking over Owen and praying that the High Magic will grant them this one.

Will and Owen are gone for twelve minutes in their own time. They fall back into their time quietly, but as soon as everyone realises they're back, there are sounds galore. Owen is unconscious, but steady, and Jack just cradles Will in his arms, whispering thanks into his ear. "It was the Lady," Will replies back into Jack's shoulder. "Thank her instead."

-x-

Owen is on the autopsy table as Martha performs her tests. Jack, Gwen and Tosh watch while Will allows himself to slump in a chair, rather exhausted. Martha finishes, and Owen sits up, far too calm for his situation. It seems as if it hasn't quite sunk in yet. "You've got no blood flow. As far as I can tell, you should be dead, but that's not the case. Brain's working fine, you can obviously speak, and you have a quite large range of movement, if slightly limited," Martha says.

"So he'll be fine?" Jack asks.

"I'm not sure fine is the correct word," Martha replies. "But yes, he should continue functioning." Owen scowls over her wordage and mutters something about not being a robot. "Frankly, I'm more interested in how and what Ianto managed to do to Owen."

Will, sitting in his corner, hears. He is not looking forward to having to explain. They have all turned to focus on him. Jack is the only one that moves, though, grasping Will on the shoulder. "I can try and explain if you want," he offers, and Will thanks him for it, because it is a genuine offer of kindness, but he knows he's the one who needs to explain this.

"He's in a time-lock of sorts. We slowed down time so his death will not come for a very long time. His blood's frozen, pain receptors gone – that might be why you're having trouble moving, by the way, Owen. I don't know what the effects will be though, I don't think anything like this has ever been attempted before." The team stand there as he explains.

"Who's we?" Toshiko asks, her voice quiet but penetrating the silence.

"The Lady," Will replies. "She is a being of the High Magic. She was the one responsible, really. Even I don't have enough power to have done this on my own."

"I thought magic didn't exist," Gwen says cautiously.

"It doesn't," Jack replies. Will scowls at him. "At least, not in the ways of fairytales and Harry Potter. It's more a complex manipulation of complex energies." Jack looks at Will, who raises one eyebrow but otherwise looks happy with how Jack has phrased it.

"So basically, I'm a walking time bomb," Owen says. Will wishes to protest, but a quick evaluation of the facts shows that Owen is probably correct with his assumption. He sighs.

-x-

Owen has run off, Jack going after him. Will wants to go as well, but Jack insists that he stays and helps Martha look through Owen's tests. There is a strange energy there, and Martha and Jack really would like to make sure that it's just magical residue or something and not anything else. And then Tosh has found something and is calling them over, and there is that horrendous footage of Owen.

"I'm going to need that Translator out of Jack's cabinet," Tosh says. "My translation program isn't getting anything without it."

"No need," Will replies. The words are clear to him. "I will walk the earth forever, and my hunger shall know no bounds."

"Huh?" Gwen asks.

"That's what it says. And we're in trouble," Will says. He means to say more, but the sound of the hub door opening interrupts him and stops him in his tracks. Jack and Owen walk through it.

"Jack," Toshiko begins, looking to explain what's going on.

"I know," Jack says. "We just had a run in with some Weevils."

The team look confused, and Jack and Owen seem to be moving down to the cells to try and explain, but Will cries out. "Jack," he begins. "It's worse than that. What he's saying; I will walk the earth forever, and my hunger shall know no bounds. It's in Old Speech. The Dark are taking him over."

-x-

"Why did you bring me back?" Owen asks. They are standing in the boardroom, getting ready for the formaldehyde solution injections that will petrify Owen and hopefully stop all of this. "Ianto?" he asks again when Will doesn't answer.

"Jack," Will replies. "He asked. I can't deny him that. He's not ready to lose any of us yet. He can't lose you again. He blames himself every time anyone of you get hurt."

"Anyone of us?" Owen asks. "Not including yourself in that, are you, Teaboy? And what do you mean again?"

"Unless you hadn't noticed over this entire endeavour, I can't exactly get hurt," Will explains patiently. He knows it'll take a while to sink in, and that a full explanation is going to be needed."And you'll need to ask Jack about your other question. It's not my story to tell."

-x-

"Something really doesn't want us to stop them, do they?" Jack says. The formaldehyde solutions have disappeared, and though Martha is trying to get more up, it is not happening, with chemicals spilling havoc all over the autopsy room as Jack attempts to restrain Owen who is losing control as the energy of the Dark attempts to take him over.

"Jack!" Toshiko cries. He spins round to look at her. "I saw something, I swear. A woman, dark haired. She was standing there."

Will and Jack exchange worried glances, but it is quickly forgotten as Owen convulses again and the teams attention is on him. Until... "Jack," Gwen's cautious voice comes. "She's there." Will and Jack both turn to look up at Gwen, who has her gun trained on someone. They follow her line of sight, and see a woman, dark haired, mouth screwed shut and eyes dark and unfocused.

"Susan," Jack says. Will curses under his breath. "What are you doing?"

"It's my penance, Jack," she replies. "For not obeying the Lion's call, I was stripped of all those who I loved, and made to serve the High Magic. Owen's transformation must complete."

Jack stands still, contemplating her words. Will's fists are clenched, he knows he can't do anything against her and that she is of the Dark as much as she is of the Light, and it hurts. Gwen and Tosh's cries register faintly in the background, but it isn't 'til Martha cries, "Jack, it's at one hundred percent. We need to do something, now," that it registers. Will can tell that Jack turns around to help, but he keeps his eyes steady on the Lady. She mouths "I'm sorry" at him, and then Will is aware of the presence of the Dark, and he blacks out.

He comes to to find a dead Jack, an aged Martha, Gwen and Tosh peering anxiously over him, a completely normal Owen, and no sign of the Lady. Great.

Part 2