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.
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?
Jack found himself in the giant cavernous kitchen. It was clear from the activity the banquet had now come to an end. Tables overflowed with huge piles of stacked dishes slowly being washed by a seeming army of kitchen attendants.
He belched and felt burning in the back his throat as he tried to keep down the most recent of the Duke's offerings. The taste sampling had gone from bad to worse. Jack felt he had eaten a sample of every nauseating vile, repugnant, and revolting substance that could be impaled on a stick or spread on a cracker.
He felt something other than his stomach turn over. Ianto was having an interesting evening; far more enjoyable than he was from the sensations filling his mind. Jack sent back a request to join in. He smiled as Ianto came to his senses.
The Duke misinterpreted Jack's look.
"I know you are as excited in anticipation of what delights I am going to produce next. I have something wonderful to share. I have been loath to cook up a whole one just for me. But your being here has inspired me, so I have thrown all caution to the wind and asked my chef to call on every one of his wonderful abilities and prepare Gog-Mol."
Jack gulped as several servants appeared, carrying a huge oval platter that filled the entire one third of the table.
"You are right to look awed. It's terrifically extravagant, a whole one just for us, then I thought about this stupendous moment in our history. So I have commanded my personal chef Manfred to call on every one of his many talents and produce this once in a lifetime dish." The Duke rubbed his hands together with glee. "To keep us going I've had some slices of Venusian slugs prepared." A servant placed a plate of grey slithers in front of Jack.
"Oh goody," Jack said as he felt his stomach churn.
"I believe I win again." Ianto heard a groan from around the table as he placed his final choice on the pile of cards. He reached out and pulled large pile of gold triangular chips, a small vial and slips of pledges towards himself.
The others around the table threw down their cards in disgust.
"Does your 'Krav Maga' give you greater mental powers?" Katha said as the dealer gathered the cards to shuffle them.
Ianto tried to keep his poker face on as he put his hand gently on Katha's arm. "No, you explained the rules so well I found my understanding became as clear as crystal," he said in complete sincerity, placing his hand over his heart.
Katha narrowed his eyes at Ianto.
"Well as long as you give us a chance to win back some of our losses," one of the nobles said, "because my father is going to kill me when he finds out what I've lost." The heads round the table nodded their agreement.
"Of course," Ianto told them as he picked up his new hand.
"Where did you come from?" Sean asked in astonishment as K9 appeared.
"I was following your orders to return to the TADRIS when I was appropriated. I felt it expedient to disengage my power systems. When I turned myself back on I found I had been deposited in a large room and placed on display with a large number of artefacts." Sean bent down and began to double-check he was not damaged. "I am undamaged. They conveyed me with great care," K9 told him.
"Herald, this is my dog K9."
"A mechanical dog," Herald said in wonder.
"When we first got here two of your people mistakenly thought K9 was a gift. I sent him back to our vessel to keep him safe."
"He is a most strange thing," Herald said as Poppet began to sniff around K9.
"How did you get here?" Sean asked.
"I ascertained it was impossible to escape via the main entrance. I scanned the room and found a secondary set of exits and entrances leading to an alternate means of transversing the building."
"Secondary set of exits and entrances?" Sean repeated.
"They were carefully disguised. The room I was in contained two such entrances. These led to passages. The passages appear to be an integral part of the structure. They are a secondary mode of moving through the palace."
"You mean hidden passages with secret openings?" Sean suggested.
"And how far do these passages run?" Herald asked.
"They are to be found on every level connecting every part of the building. Every room appears to have at least one entrance. It is how I came to be here." K9 replied then dropped his head. "I had to circumvent your order, Master. I determined that that there would be a high probability that I would be re-appropriated so I felt it wise to locate you."
Sean patted K9 on the head. "You did the right thing. I can't imagine being an exploring officer without his companion." K9 waggled his tail and lifted his head.
"And these passages lead throughout the palace?" Herald double-checked.
"Affirmative. Every part is linked."
"Can you lead me to the west wing?" Herald asked seriously.
"Sean, my beloved is in the west wing. If we go there I can be with her. We can then run away together."
"How do you know she is there?" Sean asked.
"I just know." Herald began to make preparations to leave and began to search for something to carry Poppet in.
"But what about tomorrow?"
"I've only ever been able to choose one thing in my whole life." Herald picked up Poppet. "And you being here this evening has given me courage. That if you can go into the world and be with the one you love then so can I." Herald placed Poppet into a soft bag which he fastened across the top.
Sean looked uncertain. He and Chas were not in love. They fancied each and they had done a lot of kissing to be sure and that had led to… some very interesting experiences. Loved being in each other's company, Chas was someone he could share anything with and had but love, like romantic love…."I'm not sure," Sean said feeling very uncomfortable at the turn of events.
"I'm not a brave person like my brother. I know I'm not clever. But I'm not stupid. I've overheard what people really think about me. They think I'm empty-headed. They are marrying me off because that's all I'm good for. That way I can longer be an embarrassment. But there is one thing I know for certain is how I feel about my sweet rose."
Sean groaned. "What about when everyone finds out? All hell is going to break out."
"I will face that if I have to. But if I don't do this I know I will live my whole life knowing I lost my one and only chance of true happiness." Herald looked at Sean pleading with his eyes.
"What about the Treaty? The end of the war?" Sean raised up his hands.
"I know I must seem a stupid selfish person and that I am trying to only ensure my own happiness. But I know that my beloved will suffer the same fate as me, forced to marry someone she detests. We made a solemn vow to each other and I promised I would find a way for us to be together. Once we are united I know we can find a way to sort things out."
"Follow me," K9 said turned and headed towards the panel.
Jack took a deep sip of water from the glass he was holding. He pledged he was never going to disregard the pure tastelessness of water ever again. There was a clang behind him and he turned. He watched in horror to as two chefs appeared, struggling to carry a huge steaming container between them and his stomach lurched.
Jack noted that container was followed by a whole procession of the kitchen staff, who were excitedly chattering away.
The Duke turned to Jack. "Don't mind them; it's been twenty five years since this dish was produced so everyone wants to be part of this historic moment."
Heaving the container onto the table the chefs now tipped it slowly until a green carcass slid onto the oval platter. Stringy strands of sticky tendrils seemed to follow and covered the entire mess.
"Magnificent," the Duke declared as the chef cut into the main bulk and a heady stench of musky rotting meat roiled around them.
Jack caught a whiff and he heaved.
"Perfect," the Duke smacked his lips.
"I can't," Jack said weakly not able to tear his eyes away as steam rose from the repellent dish. It seemed to be alive. He tilted closer and saw worm-like creatures swarming over the body.
The Duke roared his approval. "Manfred, this will go down in the record books as your most divine culinary achievement. Kudos to getting the temperature just right for the 'Mol' to hatch into their larval form." The chef bowed deeply.
Jack took a step back and placed his hand over his mouth.
"What?" the Duke saw his companion pale.
"I can't eat this," Jack shook his head moving backwards gulping.
"Why, it looks perfect," the Duke said.
"It's too much. I can't… I… it's revolting. It's covered in worms, grey, and green. I can't do it," Jack said in a whimper.
The Duke narrowed his eyes; this man had been his equal all evening. He looked between the dish then back at Lord Harkness. Maybe this being had senses that could detect something was wrong. He clapped his hands and ordered one of the small animals that infested the kitchen and lived off the scraps to be brought to them.
A short time later a barrel-like creature whose coat had taken on the qualities of an old mop was brought before them, Obviously hungry and a clearly not fussy it tore into the offerings thrown towards it.
It was half way through when it began to howl then keeled over. There was a collective gasp.
"There hasn't been an assassination attempt by Gog-Mol for three hundred years," one of the servants spoke up.
Jack was astonished his delicate stomach and sense of complete revulsion had saved the Duke's life. He was right; it was too disgusting to eat.
"Guards! Guards!" the Duke thundered as servants scurried away in different directions. In what seemed a moment the royal guards stormed up to the Duke.
"Sire," the Guard bowed before him.
"Sire I bring terrible news," the Guard was now joined by several more who appeared to be fumbling to do up loosened armour.
"Assassination! Someone has tried to kill me," the Duke bellowed and pointed to himself. "Me in my own home. Someone who knew of my fondness of this dish. Who knew Lord Harkness was here and our evening would lead to my proposing this delightful temptation..."
Guards looked between each other, confused. The Duke caught their looks and stopped his tirade midsentence.
"No Sire. You son Herald is missing."
"Outrage!" The Duke pushed open the double doors that led to the banquet room. The crashed open causing the chandeliers to shake.
"Seal the exits. Rouse the barracks, this is war." His words added to the chaos as the palace responded like an overturned ant hill. "This is a barbarous act and I know who is responsible. I invited them into my home. I offered my own son to appease their demands. It was nothing but a ruse to lull us all into a false sense of security so they could unleash their vengeance upon us!"
The double doors flew open and two dozen young men armed with swords drawn came in. As they entered they added to the cacophony as they now began to express their own desire for revenge. Jack recognised the Duke's eldest son and figured this was the group Ianto was with. To Jack's relief Ianto followed them in and came to join him. Jack felt Ianto's panic as they realised that Sean may have been caught up in what had happened to Herald.
"Bring them to me," the Duke demanded and the young man began to bay a war cry. Before they could move the double doors crashed open again.
A hoard of soldiers led by a tall thin woman launched themselves forward weapons drawn.
"You!" she screamed and pointed at the Duke.
"You have brought us here, under your protection. You gave me your personal assurance we would be safe now I see it was all a trick. A hoax to lull us here under false pretences so you could unleash your revenge."
"How dare you." The Duke pulled himself into full height and stomped over to her and puffed out his chest. "You come here into my home and try and make an attempt on my life and now my son is missing! How you dare accuse me."
"To end this war I was prepared to degrade myself by taking on your idiot son as my husband. But I find it was all a ruse to bring us here and steal my daughter, my most precious flower."
Jack felt Ianto's distress, not sure how if it was possible to intervene as each group started to move forward to fight. Sean uppermost in their mind, Ianto grabbed Jack's hand.
"You have stolen my son."
"My daughter you oaf, stolen from her very bed."
"Daughter." The Duchess eyeballed the Duke.
He was about to speak when he saw Herald, his arm around a rather thin young woman, make their way towards them followed by some sort of mechanical creature and another boy. As they moved forward both groups moved aside to create a path for them.
"Get your hands of my daughter," the Duchess commanded then saw that Flower was holding the young man's hand.
"Herald!" the Duke burst out
"I gather this is your son," the Duchess stated as the Duke nodded.
"Did you steal my daughter?"
"No mother," the young girl said with a lisp and what sounded like a little girls voice, "I stole myself."
"You stole yourself," the Duchess spluttered.
"Father. I am in love with Princess Flower and she loves me." The young woman looked up at Herald in adoration.
"She is not a princess you idiot," the Duchess retorted.
Herald lifted his chin. "She is to me," he stated loudly. "We were going to run away but then we thought we would be brave and come here and face you all. So we come before you to declare our love and state that we wish to marry."
"Each other," Flower quickly added.
"You can't just decide to marry for yourselves. It's for families to decide who marries who. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone could marry whoever they liked?" The Lord Chamberlain suddenly spoke out.
Flower looked crushed and Herald took her gently into his arms, cradling her. The Duchess turned on the Lord Chamberlain and glared at him so fiercely he took several steps backwards.
Flower held onto Herald as if they were about to be torn apart. "I declare I love him with all my heart and we want to marry." She gazed up at Herald longingly.
"And I love her, she is my most precious rose," Herald said keeping his gaze on Flower then taking her hand he kissed it.
"How did you even meet?" the Duchess asked.
"When we came to visit I escaped into the garden and he was there. It was in the rose garden. The air was filled with the divine scent caused by the beauty of the roses. His skin was silver under the moonlight. We talked and talked and I told him about 'Darling' and all his special tricks. I shared my 'Ode to Darling' with him and the next night Herald shared a poem he had written for me that very day. We met every night under the stars. We held hands and on the last night we kissed and pledged ourselves to each other."
Herald now spoke. "It was the most magical and wonderful week of my life. I made a promise and vowed I would find a way. I am asking you now father please let us find a way."
The Duke let out an exaggerated sigh and looked at the pair of them. He scratched his head let out another sigh. He looked across to see the Duchess was equally perturbed.
"Love and marriage are not two words that go together," Katha suddenly stated and saw the other young nobles nod and begin to speak amongst themselves.
"Why not?" Ianto spoke up.
"Because marriage is a political institution, not something one writes poetry about. One endures marriage for the next generation, there's no pleasure in it. An agreement was made. To stop this war there is to be a marriage between the Duchess and my brother. It should go ahead. All other considerations aside my brother has never had to suffer war, he should make this sacrifice for all our sakes as others have done on the battlefield," Katha replied looking at disdain at his brother.
Before the Duchess could erupt at the statement that Herald was being scarified to her Ianto pulled Katha roughly aside. The Duke gasped and several of the young nobles who kept Katha's company that night followed the pair. No one could hear the conversation but all of the young men seemed to become uneasy shifting from foot to foot as Ianto spoke. Katha crossed his arms and his face darkened with anger as Ianto pointed a finger at him and gave him what appeared to a stern lecture. A few moments later the group broke up. Katha followed sullenly behind Ianto back to the main group.
"I remove my previous objection and now give my support," Katha announced struggling with each word, as he re-joined the drama.
The Duke pursed his lips as he looked at his son and the young lady in his arms then looked at his eldest son as an understanding he had never considered came to him. He coughed to clear his throat.
"New era. New rules," he said under his breath then turned to the Duchess.
"Today is meant to be the end of a ruinous war. Your side has suffered as equally as mine. The reality is neither side can continue. If we both still had the means to carry on neither of us would have come within ten light years of any peace negotiations let along consider joining our families in any capacity. To stop the hostilities the joining of the two houses meant that instead of the two dukedoms there would eventually be one. Your offer to marry is a gracious but do you really want to go through all that again?"
The Duchess looked at Flower and Herald then thought of her own ordeal of being married. It had only been the force of her own personality that had helped her survive. In truth she was startled at Flower's declaration. Somehow it would appear she had met her complete equal in tastes, something the Duchess had thought to be impossible. Yet here he was declaring his undying love.
"New Era, new rules. New beginning. Prince Herald and Princess Flower are unknowns untainted by the sins of both sides," the Duke pointed out taking on Herald's title and applying it to both young people. "Instead of two dukedoms we declare we are now a principality."
The Duchess smiled as she warmed to the idea and she began to speak. " You are right we are weary of war. Both sides have suffered. Everyone and wants this to end. As you say new era, new rules, why not new names. The past behind us as we move forward. Their honeymoon could be a grand tour of both kingdoms. Show them off as symbols of the future blessings of prosperity." The Duchess looked across and saw Flower, her face filled with hope. In her heart she knew she could not deny her daughter her one and only wish. "Let the bells ring out the happy news," she declared and she saw Flower and Herald faces light up with relief followed by joy as they threw their arms around each other.
Herald leaned down and their lips touched. As they kissed the room erupted in cheers.
Jack let out a sigh as he put arm around Sean and took Ianto's hand. "K9, tell me this is what we were here to achieve?"
K9 waggled his ears. "Timeline healed. The marriage of Princess Flower and Prince Herald will prove to be a most fortuitous event that will be celebrated by both dukedoms. The marriage will be wildly popular. It will become a symbol of renewal that will permeate every level of this society creating a renaissance of culture. Being untouched by the war themselves they come to represent the innocence that had been lost and then renewed in them. After fifty solar cycles the people of the principality will wonder how they could have ever fought a war against each other. Herald and Flower standing before everyone and declaring their devotion will become one of the legends form this time. 'Courage and love heals all' will be chosen as the royal motto."
"Wow," Jack said. "That is one serious happy ending."
"Love won out after all," Ianto said as he looked at Jack fondly. Sean moved across the room to say his goodbyes. The couple had moved to an alcove. They watched as two servants now delivered Darling and Poppet and a major reunion began to unfold. It would appear Poppet was as overjoyed to be reunited with Sean as Herald and a major licking incident ensued. The room filled with their laugher, giggles and hugs.
"They will remain devoted to each other throughout their lives. From this day forward they will not spend a single day apart and will be known for their enduring love for each other," K9 stated.
"Can we go home now? I feel sick and I need some serious antacids," Jack said weakly as Sean re-joined them
"Home," Sean commanded and K9 led their exit.
"We can't leave," Ianto stated as the stood around the console.
"What?" Jack demanded as he sipped a soothing glass of something the TARDIS had produced to ease his unsettled digestive system.
"Matter of honour," Ianto replied.
"Matter of honour!" Jack repeated bewildered and took another sip.
"They have this serious honour code. Like knights of the round table, type of honour."
"And that means we can't leave?" Jack looked sceptical.
"They have this thing about always honouring any…what's the right way to put this…especially around gambling….paying what they owe." Ianto kept his face serious.
"Are you trying to tell me that we owe them something" Jack went even paler. "You didn't lose TARDIS did you?"
"We were playing this game. At first I could make neither head nor tail of it, it was that confusing. It was a series of picture cards, bit like a Tarot deck. Well, after my fight…"
"There was a fight? Did anyone get hurt?" Sean said, coming over to check his Tad was unharmed.
"Only someone who richly deserved it and I did give him three chances to stop before… anyway," Ianto put his arm around Sean. "After the fight I realised that the pictures on the cards had nothing to do with the game. Around the edges were bands all representing numbers. The game was about the numbers. . Once I realised this, well I won."
"What sort of a lot?" Jack asked.
"Six flyers, one hundred and eighty-two concubines, a winter place on the Island of Grol, two pleasure craft, an asteroid, sixty-four fighting griftors - not sure what they are, fourteen mercenaries, nine estates, a ruby mine, eighty-four thousand credits, and half the Duke's kingdom."
"And this." He held up the vial.
Jack started to laugh. "I think I begin to understand Katha's change of heart."
"I told the lot of them I would invalidate all losses if they gave their unwavering support to the marriage and the upcoming peace. If they didn't I would be back to collect."
"And the vial?"
"This is the juice of the Sharpina plant. It's extremely valuable and rare. Apparently once administered the person or persons suddenly have an overwhelming urge to confess every possible wrong-doing they have ever committed. Secondly they are filled with feelings of remorse and the desire to put things right." Ianto held it out between his thumb and forefinger.
Ianto saw a twisted grin grow on Jack's face.
"It wears off of course but not for about a month," Ianto added
"I figure there's enough for about four," Jack said as he examined the smoky red contents.
"That what I thought," Ianto agreed smiling.
"Sean," Jack commanded. "Take us home."
Jack contemplated the large plate of dounts placed in front of his nose. He lent out and ran his finger over the plate and licked his finger.
Owen bounded into the room and snatched the place away.
"Oh sorry, I keep forgetting," Tosh said as Jack winked at her.
"If you are hungry eat this." Owen placed a banana on Jack's desk.
Jack raised his eyebrows and reached forward.
"And when you do, please can we be spared the porn?"
"It's not my fault, bananas are just begging for it," Jack said holding it a suggestive manner.
"Don't give me that look Harkness."
Jack stood up and walked to his office door and leaned out. "Gwen, has anyone else got any complaints about the way I eat bananas?"
"Jack, we are not having this conversation. If we do I am going start on about the way you eat hotdogs," Gwen retorted.
"You know I should make a list of all the foods Jack's abused," Tosh interjected.
"Starting with ringed donuts," Owen stepped down to the main Hub level.
"And squid rings," Tosh added.
"Well any food in a ring," Gwen turned and crossed her arms.
"One time guys, one time, five years ago…" Jack was interrupted as his mobile sounded and he flipped it open.
"Inspector Swanson, what do I owe this pleasure to? " A huge smile started to spread across his face.
"How did you do it?"
"Do what?" Jack moved back towards his office.
"I turned up at the station early this morning to find four young men who insisted they be taken into custody. They then literally fell over each to talk, fighting each other to be first, and each one over-talking the last as they tried to confess. Not only that they are demanding we let them plead guilty. It's taken hours and they've still not finished talking. So I am asking what did you do?"
"Inspector Swanson what are you suggesting?"
"The last time we talked you said the clock was ticking. It was only a matter of time before you found them."
"Did I give that impression?" Jack sat back in his chair.
"Did you drug them?"
He sat up. "Did you detect anything," he asked cautiously
"Not that we can find."
"So no," Jack replied.
"Jack, I want you to promise that you never heard me say this."
"Say what?" Jack asked carefully.
"What am I promising too?"
"You are promising that you will never repeat what I am about to say to another living soul. If this conversation comes to my notice I will deny this conversation ever took place. I want you to promise that after I have stopped speaking we will pretend the words were never spoken."
"I need to hear the words, Jack."
"I promise on my honour."
He heard Inspector Swanson take a breath then pause. "Thank you. Whatever you did. You have made a lot of us very happy. They have fessed up to a whole raft of crimes, not just the arson at the warehouse but the other assaults, muggings burglaries, drugs, car thefts, shop lifting, it goes back years and years, right little gang of villains. Their days of terrorising the local estate are over."
"From this I understand all charges for the arson and car theft will be dropped against Sean and Chas."
Swanson became serious. "Jack you should know Sean and Chas are lucky to be alive, the gang have admitted they were looking to really hurt them."
"That much Ianto and I figured," Jack said quietly thinking about how terrified both boys were.
"So thank you Jack. Whatever you did. Thank you. Now I need you assure me that after tomorrow we won't see Sean or Chas down here again."
"He's willing to face up to the fraud. Chas is also going to admit to his part. After that you won't see them again," Jack said.
"Good. They are both good kids. I hope what was ever going for Sean in particular is now resolved."
"Jack, see you then and remember this conversation never happened."
Jack snapped his phone shut, stood and walked to the door.
"Good news?" Alex said as he placed a file Jack's desk.
"Yes, tell the troops, Operation Troll hit pay dirt."
"I will and congratulations."
Jack looked up. "Yes another successful Torchwood Operation."
Alex looked serious 'I think we should discuss the on-going ban on ringed food."
"It was one time," Jack said in exasperation.
- Current Location:My own little world
- Current Mood: chipper