Title: The Oncoming Storm
Sequel – Broken Dreams
Rating: Mature 16+
Pairings Jack/Ianto, OC Sean, K9
Alternate time line.
Beta: milady_dragonTorchwood- Copyright BBC. This Fan fiction has been created for enjoyment and is not for profit.
Authors note: Plot shamelessly borrowed from the Star Trek Next Generation novel 'Dragons Honor' by Kij Johnson and Greg Cox. All rights and kudos to them. Please don't sue I have no money. That said I only borrowed the plot and did make it my own.
Summary -Sequel Broken Dreams. 14 years have passed and Jack and Ianto struggle with teen angst and rebellion. Can they keep Sean safe during the oncoming storm as the prophecy and portents foretold now begin to take shape?
"Wow you sure did do some shopping," Sean said as Jack and Ianto dumped a substantial number of plain and promotional shopping bags by the TARDIS door.
"We had no idea what a mecca it was. Malls everywhere; little specialised boutiques, they sold everything," Ianto said and scanned the console room to ease his own anxiety that all was well after their short break.
"Not everything," Jack pointed out.
"Well, almost everything," Ianto agreed. He gave Sean a quick hug in greeting.
"I have so much to show and tell you. Come with me." Sean took his Dads' hands and led them around to show them what he had discovered.
It would appear the TARDIS had retained the pool, a large indoor garden complete with gazebo and water feature.
There were several storage rooms filled with containers and boxes. Sean pointed out that no matter how he searched he had not been able to find the room where he had found K9.
Leading them down a wide corridor he opened double doors. Jack and Ianto gasped at the sheer vastness of the space.
"These are the engines," Sean told them.
Both Ianto and Jack looked over the handrail of the platform. From what they could tell the engines appeared to go into infinity.
"TARDIS told me that they go on for ever," Ianto glanced at Jack as Sean used the acronym TARDIS as a personal name.
"What if you need to repair something?"
"That's the really cool bit," Sean told them as he went to a substantial panel in the middle of the viewing platform. "The main engine is here and you can reach any part of this by the walkways. You can also reach the upper parts by the stairs." Jack and Ianto looked in the direction of Sean's hand and saw the platform they were standing on was part of a larger structure which enabled access to the top of the engine. There was a platform above them which could be reached by stairs. It looked very industrial in keeping with this being an engine room. "This is the parent engine. All the others are just duplications. Any corrections or repairs done on the parent here will be mirrored in all the others."
"Wow," Jack said.
"Wow," Ianto agreed.
"I don't understanding it fully. TARDIS downloaded all the specs into K9 so if I ever need to do any work he at least can talk to me and guide me to what I need to do." Sean took a deep breath. "And TARDIS and I have been practicing talking to each other but I need a lot practice."
Jack looked curious. "Can you share each other's thoughts?"
"No, and it feels so strange like my brain is itching. We have to practice every day by sending a message to each other, more like pictures rather than words." Sean scratched just under his ear. "But I saw colours which is the first step," he added proudly
"Well done." Ianto put his arm around his shoulders.
"And she made me do maths with all the squiggles."
"Really?" Ianto laughed.
"She said how you reach the conclusion is just as important as the answer." Ianto nodded his head in agreement.
"And now I have something really cool to show you," Sean said excitedly as he led them back to the console room.
Reaching the first panel Sean placed his hand on what looked like a raised hand print and the console came alive.
"I am taking us home," Sean said, moving around the console, flicking switches in order then pulling a lever. A moment passed. Sean looked a bit worried and he started to check the instruments when the central column began to move up and down.
Now he pressed more buttons and the column stopped. Sean turned to them with a huge smile on his face.
"You did it," Jack said placing his arm around him.
"My first run," Sean let out a huge breath. "And now Dads, we need to talk about those shirts."
"These shirts are the height of beach fashion on Argos Five." Jack did a spin, his arms out.
"The colours are burning my eyes Dad."
"Sean, I tried to talk him out of it," Ianto interrupted.
"But yours is just as bad. It looks like some sort of mad beach scene in day-glow. They are giving me a headache."
"Do you hear that Jack? He's standing there looking like a refugee from the Age of Steam complete with top hat and he is having a go at our shirts."
Sean squinted at the riot of colours which seemed to swirl as his Dads moved. "Promise me you will never wear them in public."
"I forgot, "Ianto said now moving to the bags and started to search through them. Reaching the tenth bag he pulled out what looked like a smaller version of shirts he and Jack were wearing. "Now, the being in the shop said that this was all the rage for gifts." He held out the hideously bright shirt. "The writing across the back translates as, 'My parents went to Argos Five for a holiday and all they got me was this stupid shirt'."
"Ha, ha," Sean said as he took the shirt thinking this was going in to the darkest reaches of his closet never to be seen again.
"Talking about being in public don't you think it might be a good idea to change?" Jack suggested looking at Sean.
"No I want to show Chas once everything's been sorted out." Sean looked a little worried.
"I guess that explains K9?" Ianto pointed out as Sean nodded. "Okay, deep breaths everybody; real life awaits," Ianto said as they stepped through the door.
"Don't remind me," Jack said as he took Ianto's hand.
"This is not home," Jack said as he looked around at the ornate building before them. It reminded him vaguely of a pagoda but without the normal elegance and style one would associate with such an edifice. It was not just that the colours that were all wrong; it was the proportions. It was as if someone thought this was what a pagoda should look like and gone from there.
Sean looked stunned. "I double-checked everything."
"Correct master. This is Angel One," K9 said.
All three of them stared down at K9.
"So if Sean checked everything why are we here and not where we are meant to be?" Ianto pointed out.
"You are where you are meant to be," K9 stated clearly.
Before anyone of them could express any indignation or begin to ask any of the dozens of questions that now clambered to be asked they heard a gentle cough.
They turned as one and saw a small man dressed in a mustard yellow outfit wearing a hat with a large stuffed seagull covered in rhinestones perched on the top as if in flight.
"Greeting esteemed sirs," the man bowed deeply.
"Greetings," Jack replied instinctively.
The small man coughed lightly again. "I apologise for my words but due to the sensitive nature of the nuptial festivities I will need to see your invitations."
"Of course," Ianto said pulling out his wallet and showed him the psychic paper.
The man's eyes widened as he examined the paper. "Lord Jones, what an honour." He now looked at Jack's. "Lord Harkness. When we invited a representation of the Galactic Federation to attend we did not expect such an honour from such esteemed members of the higher council."
"His Highness the Duke will be ecstatic that the Galactic Federation should send such as your esteemed sirs." The man stepped back and took a good look at them his eyes settling on Sean.
"This is our son Sean. He is here to observe," Jack added quickly.
"Learning how to wear the robes of duty early? I congratulate you." The man bowed, once more then coughed again very lightly. "Talking about robes I have to say that you are dressed in a most perfect manner to attend the evening's banquet. We have had to supply a number of outfits as some guests have come most inappropriately dressed. This is an event of great joy and as such every garment must reflect the joyousness nature of the occasion so congratulations on your most perfect attire. Your son however…" the servant looked at Sean up and down.
"You know what the young are like," Ianto said trying not to stifle a laugh.
"We bought him a matching shirt but he wouldn't wear it. He said it was hurting his eyes," Jack added.
"Yes, the young," the man tutted. "We can only hope he grows to develop the same sense of good taste as his fathers. He needs to learn that fashion is meant to make a bold statement and how better with the most vibrant colours in the universe even if it hurts the eyes."
He bowed so low the gull lurched causing the hat to slide forward. "Now if you will please follow me I will lead you to the Hall of Great Magnificence where you can join the pre-nuptial feast."
Looking at each other, not sure what they were getting themselves into, they followed the man though the ornate gardens towards a massive structure. Ianto wanted to call it a stately home but there was nothing stately about it. It had towers, and elements of it reminded him of a medieval castle. Another part was all marble and glass, and it was like someone had sat down with a large book of architectural styles and picked out the worst examples and then gone on from there. It was the sort of building that should have been on display at the 'Tate Modern' in London alongside other gross monstrosities of modern contemporary art.
Inside the building they followed other late arrivals who were also being escorted down a tall wide corridor. They bypassed the queue and approached a rather regal-looking man who was dressed in a glaring red jacket with gold swirls and was almost bland in comparison with the surroundings. He stood before a huge heavy purple curtain and lifted it to allow another party to pass through.
The small servant leaned in. "Please forgive our Lord Chancellor he is one who has yet to develop the good taste you are demonstrating. I know he looks positively dull but he is an excellent fellow who does a first rate job." He moved to introduce them. "Lord Chancellor, let me introduce Lord Harkness and Lord Jones of the Galactic Federation. They are accompanied by their son and have brought a most divine gift."
The Lord Chancellor turned his attention towards them. He looked them up and down with disdain, and then examined K9.
The small man continued, "It is a little dull, but I am sure by the time the royal jewellers and gilders have finished with him he will be a delight."
"K9 is not a gift. He is an instrument," Sean said strongly realising there had been a misunderstanding to K9's purpose.
The Lord Chancellor eyes widened and his monocle fell from his face. He fumbled to catch and replace it so he could take a better look. "A musical instrument? How droll. What tunes does it play? Does it know…?"
"K9 you are to go to straight back to the TARDIS and wait there for us to return. You are not to leave for any reason," Sean interrupted.
"Yes Master." K9 turned and headed back.
"Well I say!" The Lord Chancellor looked insulted.
"He is a basic model. Now we have seen the splendours here we realised that he needs to be decorated," Jack added quickly.
"Quite, quite but we have our own highly renowned and gifted craftsmen who could have added the most divine ornamentation."
"We wouldn't want to give any offence considering the importance of the festivities. We wish to honour the Duke with our highest esteem," Ianto added hastily.
"Very well," the Lord Chancellor said as he watched K9 disappear from view. "Once you've completed the upgrade, send him to the room of the Bequests for the Blissful Union."
Clapping his hands another overdressed servant similar to the first, dressed in the same yellow mustard outfit but wearing what looked like a towering hat of fruit.
"I will announce you and if you follow this young man he will take you to your table." The Lord now picked up what looked like a heavy jewelled speaking horn. The curtain parted and he began to bellow. "Lord Harkness and Lord Jones of the Galactic Federation who have gifted a magnificent if dull singing mechanical dog. They are accompanied by their very boringly dressed Son."
Stepping beyond the curtain they found themselves at the top of a wide flight of steps. Looking down they could see a huge cavern of a room. High above them the ceiling was adorned with a garish painting of hundreds of cherubim in various poses. Hanging down to light the whole room were chandeliers held seemingly in place by angels that looked like they would swoop or come crashing down considering the flimsy nature of their attachment to the ceiling.
The banquet was in full swing with an uncountable number of servants scurrying between each table, their arms laden with precariously balanced stacks of plates filled with what looked like tiny morsels of food.
Making their way with difficulty, narrowly missing harassed-looking servants they found themselves two-thirds down the hall. The servant indicated a low table surrounded with large circular cushions, which was filled with small dishes, all piled one on top of the other. The single occupant looked up then belched and waved at them to sit down.
"At last! You took your time," he slurred as he drained his glass. He waved the glass above his head and a passing wine or drink servant refilled it immediately.
"And you are?" Ianto asked as he settled on a cushion.
"Billfold Yukawa at your service. Federation attaché first class posted here to oversee the signing of the treaty." He took a sip of the drink in his overfilled glass as some slopped on to the surface of the table.
"Treaty?" Jack repeated examining the plates stacked on the table that looked in danger of collapse.
"We're here as replacements. We got a call yesterday asking if we could attend; apparently there was some kind of homeland emergency which meant the other representatives couldn't get here," Ianto explained.
"I bet. Or didn't want to end up in the arse end of the quadrant at one of the Duke's endless banquets." More plates were dumped on the table causing several of the plates to slip sideways. Sean caught them just in time and stacked them back up. "Yes...treaty. The long awaited Treaty. Two dukedoms at war almost as long as this banquet. We've only had two hundred courses; three hundred to go." He let out a long sigh. "Sorry, I digress. Devastation all round, the war that is not this banquet, fought each other to a standstill. Economies in ruins, people suffering, you get the picture. Both sides so at odds with each other it took a whole solar cycle before they could decide the shape of the table for the peace negotiations. Then another cycle to decide its colour."
Billfold indicated with a finger and they move in closer. "Truth is, both sides are sick of the whole thing. None of them can remember what they are fighting about or over. They want to stop all the feuding and go back to what they did before they got distracted, which was collecting tolls. Personally I think they are bored with the whole thing and just need an excuse to stop all the nonsense. The quadrant will breathe a sigh of relief when they no longer have to take the long way round to trade, which has been a bloody inconvenience for the last one hundred or so solar cycles because you could never guarantee one side or the other wouldn't take a pot shot at you," he said in one breath. "Once the treaty is signed I figure we will all have to put up with the tolls being hiked up but anything will be better than having to go fifty-eight light-years out of the way as we all try and avoid the dark nebula."
"I thought I heard the word nuptial," Ianto checked some of the contents of the plates.
"Yes, it's been agreed the only true way to stop the fighting is to bring the two Dukedoms together. To do this there has to be a marriage so there is going to be a wedding." Billfold took a swig of his drink. "It has been decided that as the Duchess is still in the child-bearing zone she is the bride."
"And the groom?" Jack asked.
"Herald, the Duke's youngest son."
"Is he one of those at the head table?" Ianto indicated with his head towards the raised platform two dozen tables away from them
"The large, red-faced man with his outfit screaming every colour is the Duke. On his right is his oldest son, Katha. On the left is General Spitzer, commander of the duke's forces who was responsible for the scorched earth policies that had caused both sides to seek peace. The rest are head of the various houses."
"Which one is Herald?" Jack asked as they stretched their necks to get a better look.
"Oh he's not here. He's yet to come out so it would be most improper for him to attend."
"So how old is he?" Jack asked settling back down.
"Fifteen!" Jack and Ianto replied together and looked at him in shock then glanced at Sean.
"It was meant to be the oldest son but he refused point blank because he had met the Duchess. It was about to get all very nasty when the Duke offered Herald. Seeing this is his only other legitimate heir the offer was deemed acceptable."
"So if the Duchess is getting married and this the pre-nuptial banquet so why is she not here?" Jack watched a servant struggle up with several plates, saw none of those on the table were empty, and staggered away.
Billfold let out another sigh. "Another tradition. Both parties are sequestered as they take the time to contemplate the delights of the bliss only the married state can bring."
Jack choked on his drink which he had found in front himself a few moments before. "Married bliss? He is fifteen."
"Yes, and it all happens at exactly midday tomorrow at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony. They will then sign the treaty and hostilities will cease and they can go back to inflicting their terrible dress sense on the rest of the universe. At the same time you will then hand over the document of inclusion inviting them to apply for membership in the Galactic Federation because as you know one of the conditions of membership is not conducting or engaging in a civil war."
Billfold picked up a delicate fork and speared one of the morsels, popping into his mouth. "Now you should know not everyone on either side is happy with the turn up of events. Some individuals have become very rich selling arms to both sides and there has been some nastiness. There are rumours of an assassination attempt on the life of the Duke, and/or his sons. Disruption at any point will see the bloody war continue and a vital trade route will continue to be blocked."
"So what she like then, this Duchess?" Sean asked as he picked up a delicate fork and speared a green cube. It was crunchy and tasty. He moved to take another.
"No. Only one morsel per person, per plate," Billfold shouted and Sean pulled his fork away. Seeing food was now being consumed another pile of plates were suddenly dumped onto the table causing those already tottering to slide. "The Duchess is known as the most ruthless woman in the quadrant. She took over the duchy from her father. She was the last woman standing, so to speak. She was strong enough to take over with the promise she would find a way to stop the carnage."
"Well, let's hope they find love." Ianto raised his glass in a toast.
"Love!" Billfold snorted. "This is a royal wedding of convenience. All Herald has to do is turn up tomorrow, say the right words then survive the wedding night. He only has to consummate the marriage and produce one child. Two to be safe."
"That's a bit harsh," Ianto looked shocked at Billfold's callousness.
"No one cares. Herald's fate is sealed and it's a sacrifice everyone is willing to make, because let's face it this war has gone on long enough. Worse, vital trade has been disrupted."
Not sure on how to reply Ianto picked up his fork and speared a yellow cube. He saw Jack looking at him, shaking his head sadly and pushing out his love.
Jack looked at new set of plates that had been dumped on their table. He groaned and wished for something more substantial. He was not sure if the endless courses were an excuse to produce a large banquet of many dishes using as little actual food as possible or was the tradition for such occasions. Shifting on the cushion he looked for a way to escape. He sighed because he knew it was impossible; every attempt they had witnessed had so far ended in failure. The last attempt had been an hour ago when several guests in desperation had attempted to escape by crawling around the tables, keeping as low as possible but were caught and led back with polite admonishment that there were only one hundred and eight courses left to go.
Stretching to ease the pain in his lower spine Jack's attention was caught by a man bowing before them. He was like the others, dressed in mustard, and Jack noted that his hat appeared to have a large stuffed cat about to leap at some unseen destination and was wobbling to escape.
"Honourable sirs, his Royal Highness, His Majesty Duke Juno of the Twelve Islands of Heaven, Ruler of the Gate Lands respectfully commands your presence."
Delighted that this offered some form of escape Jack leapt up. He regretted it immediately as his legs, numb from sitting, hit the underside of the table causing the entire unstable contents to go flying to the right, sliding around Billfold. Fortunately he had found his own escape hours earlier and had passed out.
Ianto helped Jack to his feet, who rubbed his knees. Then he went to assist Ianto who was removing the plates around Billfold. Having cleared enough they followed the servant weaving in and out of the tables, trying to dodge the frantic effort of those still delivering food or clearing plates.
They were steered to the platform where several very bored-looking individuals were lounging about on stuffed cushions. Jack was not sure if he should be grateful none of them were wearing any absurd hats because he knew he if caught Ianto's eye or raised eyebrow once more he was going to not be able to contain himself. Once he started he knew it would be impossible to stop so he raised a small oath of thanks.
Jack and Ianto bowed as they were introduced and with a wave of his royal hand they settled before the Duke.
The Duke dusted off his hands. "Sirs, how honoured that you should come to our shores and behold our magnificence." He waved his hand about.
"It is we who are honoured to be included in such an historic occasion," Ianto replied.
The Duke leaned forward. "Yes, yes." the Duke waved away Ianto's flowery words. "Now to business. When I heard you had brought your own son I knew that the gods had smiled upon us. As you know it is the night before the nuptials tomorrow. I have a major dilemma because there is no one of royal stature who can join him in his vigil as he prepares for his future happiness." They all turned towards a loud snort that came from a man in his twenties who had been identified to them as the Duke's eldest son.
"I have no one I can spare or who is willing." The Duke scowled at Katha and the man raised his glass. "No one his age and an equal who could spend a few hours in his company which is right and proper. Someone who could distract him as he contemplates his er…em... The Duke looked uncomfortable then added, "blissful union."
'Or objects and creates a fuss,' Ianto and Jack both pushed out to each other simultaneously.
"So I was wondering if your son would join him in his hour of need?" The Duke saw Jack and Ianto glance between each other. "Your son will be most safe. Herald is currently sequenced in the securest wing of this palace surrounded by my most trusted guard."
"Sean?" Jack asked Sean who shrugged and Jack rubbed his back.
The Duke clapped his hands as Sean now stood. "While you're there you can ask my son for some fashion advice. I am sure he will be able to help you find a better, more delightful way of expressing your taste." Sean rolled his eyes and after taking a look back he followed as the servant with a bunch of bananas on his head wobbled before him.
The Duke accepted a refill of his glass. "And now I must throw myself upon your benevolence again. Lord Jones, would you honour my eldest son by joining him and his companions in an evening of entertainment?" He leaned forward and started speaking in a heavy stage whisper. "It's just that many of the young nobles are displeased with the ending of hostilities. They have tested their manhood in the heat of battle and feel the loss of honour most sharply. But those of us who are older and wiser dream of a more profitable time of peace. If they are joined by a high-ranking member of the Federation it will be a reminder that with peace comes prosperity."
Ianto looked a little bemused as he tried to consider being older and wiser.
"It's mostly a card game. I want them to keep out of trouble, no running off to the enemy camp so to speak, who are currently enjoying the hospitality of the Dukedom in the west wing, and stirring up any nonsense. The last thing we need is a lot of hot-headed youth trying to claim glory."
Ianto looked at Jack as several of the young man surrounding the table staggered to their feet and started to move away. "Of course I will be honoured," Ianto said. Looking up he found a servant, his hand held out. Taking the hand he was pulled to his feet and, winking at Jack he followed.
Jack watched Ianto's retreating back trying to quieten the debate in his head about the folly and/or wisdom of their splitting up. He pulled his attention back and found the Duke looking at him.
"Now sir." The Duke leaned towards Jack. "Let us see if we can find some common ground and have a meeting of the minds. I always find cuisine to be a great conversation starter." The Duke clapped his hands and a servant appeared with a plate and held it before Jack's face.
"This is called 'Rangool' and it is an utter delicacy of the finest order. Only the most educated palettes can discern its charms," the Duke declared as he readied his fork and took a slice for himself.
Jack peered at the small square of brown substance. He picked up the morsel and placed it into his mouth. As soon as his teeth took a bite he was hit by the gritty yet slimy texture. He struggled not to gag as the flavour of rotting excrement hit the back of his throat. Forcing himself not to gag he swallowed. He looked and saw the look of excitement on the Duke's face.
"Very original," Jack forced out desperately looking for something to wash down the mess in his mouth. He searched around and found a glass in his hand. He sniffed it and to his relief found it was non-alcoholic. He took a quiet sip not wishing to insult his host by taking large gulps.
"Do you know there are some people who would rather suffer execution than take a single bite of this wonderful substance?" the Duke told him shaking his head sadly.
"Well they are missing out," Jack said as took a sip; a bigger one this time in an attempt to rid the foul taste from his mouth.
"It's created by stuffing a small rodent with a secret mixture of herbs and berries. It is buried in a small earthenware pot for five years. Once opened it has dissolved into this delicacy."
"It's certainly interesting," Jack tied to force some enthusiasm.
The Duke's face split with joy. "Excellent!" he thundered. "An epicurean like myself. Oh, the delights we will sample. I have so much to share." The Duke called over a servant. "Call the chef. Tell him I want him to pull out all the stops and prepare all my most favourite dishes starting with 'Bicall Candied Eyes'. You want to know the trick to making really superb candied eyes?" The Duke leaned towards Jack who was trying to resist the urge to use the napkin on the floor to rid his mouth of the gritty residue that refused to dislodge.
Jack looked at him feeling more than a little green.
"The trick is to pluck them out while the animal is still living."
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