[personal profile] dragontreasure26


Title: The Path Unwinding
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, John Hart plus OC’s
Summary: Newlyweds Ianto Jones and Jack Harkness thought all their problems would be over once they reached the Time Agency but it appears that trouble has a habit of following them wherever they go.
Warnings: MxM, smut, swearing, mpreg.
Rating: 15

Chapter List: dragontreasure26.dreamwidth.org/197073.html


Jack stared down at the arena, worried because he could still see the forest below – why wasn’t it over? Ianto was on his knees clutching his stomach, bleeding out. Jack's breaths quickened. "Why hasn't it stopped? Why is it still running?" he said spinning around to look at the examiners who were all just watching the screen intently.

"He hasn't finished yet," Milo said nodding toward the screen.

Jack span back around and watched as Ianto pulled himself up of the floor. Violet had turned away, believing herself to be victorious and Ianto had taken this opportunity and had dived onto her back, wrestling her to the floor.

"You've got to stop this! He's injured!" Jack shouted desperately.

"Would it stop if this was real?" Milo snapped back at him. "We need to know what he would do."

"He could die!" Jack argued.

Milo shook his head and laughed a little. "It's not real Jack, it's just a simulation remember? He thinks it's real, he feels everything as if it were real but that injury is no more real than any of the rest of it."

Jack couldn't bear to watch, it didn't matter that it was a simulation - to Ianto it was real and he was getting hurt; he was disgusted by the crowd who were cheering for Violet o finish Ianto off. How could they be so cruel?

---

Ianto pulled himself up off the floor, grabbed his sword and charged after Violet. Violet span around and pushed Ianto down to his knees, she had her sword in her hand. "You won't give up will you?" she said staring down at him. "Do I need to run you through again?" she spat. "Or should I give you the mercy of a quick death and take off your head?"

Ianto gritted his teeth together and stared up at her defiantly.

"You had the chance to kill me you should have taken it," Violet told him.

"It is not for me to decide whether you live or die," Ianto replied glaring up at her. “If it were you would have taken your last breath by now.”

"You're a fool," Violet said raising her sword once more.

The crowd chanted for her to kill, Ianto blocked out the sound of them and closed his eyes waiting for the final blow.

A blow that never came.

When Ianto eventually opened his eyes again he found the forest had disappeared and he was back in the arena once more with a stunned crowd staring at him. Ianto pulled himself up onto his feet wincing in pain, but when he looked down there was no wound. He could feel it like it was real, but there was no wound there. No blood. Not a scratch on him.

Ianto glanced at the screen which remained black; he turned to look at the examiners room to see them gathered around talking to each other. They looked like they were arguing. Ianto quickly realised they were arguing over him and whether or not to pass him and his heart started to beat harder against his chest - he needed to pass. He had to. He didn’t have a Plan B.

----

"He didn't kill her. How can we possibly pass him?" One of the examiners argued.

"There is more than one purpose of this exam," Milo said glancing at a re-run of what had happened on his tablet. "We are here to look at the potential of each entrant," he continued. "You heard what he said:  "It is not for me to decide who lives and who dies" clearly Jones shows the attitude we all strive to adopt, to capture our enemies so that they can be put on trial and where possible to only kill when necessary."

"But if this was real he would be dead,” Another examiner cut in.

"If an entrant has to be perfect there would be no need for the Academy to train them," Another Judge, a woman by the name of Vanessa Reid, contradicted. "Jones has potential, I don't want to rule him out just yet."

Milo glanced at Vanessa and nodded in agreement.

Jack watched the examiners deliberate for a few moments, and held his breath - together the five of them would decide Ianto's future. Two other examiners clearly did not agree but another was clearly swung around by Milo and Vanessa’s words and nodded in agreement. "Let's give him a chance, we'll see how he deals with the remaining tests."

Milo nodded, he tapped a button on his table and the screen that hung above the arena lit up green and showed a pass. Jack smiled down at Ianto who sighed in relief but quickly glanced around the crowd when they started to boo and jeer at him. Ianto was quickly directed out of the arena, and Jack left the examiners room to follow.

---

Ianto sat down and let some of the medical staff fuss over him despite there being nothing physically wrong with him - it was all in head after all. After they’d removed the discs attached the inside of his wrist the pain and sensation of being run through with Violet’s sword disappeared and Ianto felt normal again. After he’d been checked over, he was finally told he could go back to the stands.

Ianto got up and peered out at the arena, the crowd were no longer booing him but that was only because the next exam had begun - Eric's.

"Ianto!" Jack cried rushing into the room. "Are you okay?"

For a moment Ianto forgot all that had happened between them, he charged over to Jack, wrapped his arms around him and hugged him tightly. "How did I pass? I don't understand." he said shaking his head. "Was it you? Did you say something?" he asked drawing back to look him in the eyes.

Jack shook his head. "I had no power in their decision. It was all down to you, you passed because you showed potential. That's all they're looking for at this stage." he explained.

"But she ran her sword through me!" Ianto cried. He could still remember the feeling of the cold steel running through him ... it had seemed so real, and he knew he would have died if it were. In his eyes that was a failure.

"Don't remind me,” Jack said with a shaky laugh. "You're okay though?" he asked.

Ianto nodded quickly. Jack sighed with relief and gathered Ianto back up into his arms and hugged him tightly. Ianto was disappointed when they eventually broke apart, for a moment it felt as all was right between them. "So …" he said with a heavy sigh. "What happens next?"

Jack knew he wasn’t just asking about the exams and he couldn’t help but think there might be hope for them yet, he was about to reply when the door opened and a chattering bunch of medical officers entered. Jack took a quick step away from Ianto. Eric also entered the room, just having completed his test and was followed by Taliah.

"Sir I'm sorry but this area is reserved for entrants only," One of the officers told Jack.

"Of course, I'm just leaving,” Jack replied. He glanced apologetically at Ianto, and in his eyes there was a promise that they'd get to talk soon. Ianto wanted to call after him, wanted to know if Jack regretted what had happened between them, if he still wanted him, but he dare not say a word whilst there were others where in earshot.

Eric glanced over at Ianto curiously. "Torchwood eh, how come you didn't mention that?" he asked swatting away one of the medical officers fussing over him. Taliah looked over with interested, she too wanted to know the answer.

"Because that isn't me anymore. I escaped from them," Ianto told them. "They almost killed me, I'm never going back."

Taliah sat down next to Ianto. "We all have skeletons in our closet, they don't define who we are," she smiled reassuringly.

"Try telling that to the rest of them," Ianto mumbled thinking about the rest of the crowd who'd wanted for Violet to kill him, at least in the simulation that is.

"They're just jealous because you kicked ass out there," Eric replied with a grin. "Nice moves by the way."

Ianto laughed and blushed heavily. "Thanks, I take it you passed too?" he asked.

Eric nodded. "Piece of cake," he said with a wink. "Was that guy talking to you an Agent?" he asked glancing over at the door Jack had disappeared through.

"Yes it was," Taliah nodded enthusiastically. "It was Jack Harkness wasn't it?" she asked Ianto, who nodded in confirmation. "I've read all about him, he's one of the best Agents here."

"What did he want with you?" Eric asked glancing curiously at Ianto.

"He - uh - the simulation was based on one of his missions. He just wanted to congratulate me on passing," Ianto said with a shrug. "No big deal."

"It is," Taliah enthused. "Every cadet is assigned a mentor, an existing Agent, you should exploit your connection to Jack, having him for a mentor will really help you." she told him.

Ianto glanced at Taliah. "That's good to know," he replied, excited at the prospect of being able to legitimately spend time with Jack. That’s if he still wanted to, he thought glumly.

"Maybe you could put a good word in for me too?" Talia hinted.

"And me," Eric quickly added. “If Jack’s as good as you say?” he said glancing at Talia who nodded enthusiastically.

Ianto smiled at them. "We've got to get through the rest of these entrance exams first,” he reminded them.

"Good point," Eric replied. "What's next?"

"Hand to hand combat,” Taliah replied. "As you said Eric, piece of cake," she grinned throwing out her paw and popping out her claws.

"Wow I sure hope I won't be partnered with you!" Eric replied with raised eyebrows. "How about you Ianto? You were pretty awesome with that sword, but what are you like with your fists?" he asked.

Ianto smiled. "I can hold my own," he replied confidently.

----

Ianto sailed through the hand-to-hand combat stage of the exams and felt that he’d done well at the mental tasks which followed, although one stage involved using computers and technology he wasn’t very confident with. Ianto tried not to dwell on it, it was done now and all he could do was wait. He, Eric and Taliah were all waiting nervously with the other entrants in a large room which they’d been directed to by the examiners. They’d been told that a list of successful entrants would be displayed on the screens after the judges has made their final deliberations.

“I really don’t want to go home,” Taliah sighed as she glanced nervously at the blank screen, waiting for the list to come up.

Ianto glanced down at the floor not knowing what he’d do if he wasn’t selected – he had no home to go to; he’d just have to try and hitch a ride to Earth and live in whatever century he arrived in he thought more than a little worried at the prospect.

“It’s up!” Taliah suddenly squealed in excitement.

Ianto looked up as the once silent room was suddenly filled with noise; excitement from those that had been successful and angry mutterings to tears from those who’d been rejected. Ianto quickly found the closest available screen and searched the list of names, holding his breath as his eyes scanned down the list. His heart beat quickening with every name that his eyes slid over that didn’t belong to him.

Ianto let out the breath he’d been holding when he saw the very last name on the list was his. He’d made it.

“Looks like we’re going to be sticking together from now on then,” Eric said giving Taliah a hug and then shaking Ianto’s hand.

“I can’t wait to tell my father!” Talia cried throwing her arms around Ianto’s neck and hugging him tight.

“He’ll be really proud,” Ianto smiled encouragingly as he hugged her back. He felt numb, scared, excited and relieved at the same time. He’d made it, he’d made it, he’d made it, he kept telling himself over and over until the words sank in.

----

After the announcements, there was a drinks reception to celebrate the victory of those who had passed the examinations. Ianto, Eric and Taliah stuck together as they were guided to a room with the other successful entrants. The room was swarming with existing Cadets in training, Officers, Agents, Captains as well a whole host of very important looking people. Ianto was once again a little overwhelmed at the vast array of species all milling around to room chatting with each other, but he knew he had to push all of his Torchwood brainwashing out. These were good people, he kept telling himself.

“I’m starving,” Taliah said taking Ianto and Eric by the arm and leading them over to the buffet. “Oh look at all this wonderful food!” she cried happily.

“You are going to have to explain some of this to me,” Ianto said not recognising a thing there. “19th Century born and raised remember?” he chuckled.

“Oh you haven’t lived until you’ve tried some of this,” Talia said eagerly pushing a plate into his hand before she began piling it high.

Eric chuckled. “You’ll pick it all up eventually,” he told him as he grabbed a plate for himself.

---

“Congratulations cadets,” Jack said heading over to Talia, Eric and Ianto. “Please let me introduce you to Agent John Hart, Captain Milo Cartel and Captain Vanessa Reid.”

“A pleasure,” Taliah said eagerly extending her paw and shaking their hands.

Ianto’s eyes snapped up and rested on Milo’s, recognising the name – he was the reason he’d joined the Time Agency in the first place. The Cartel’s had taken Jack and his mother in after they’d fled Boshane, and they’d continued to look after Jack after his mother had died.

Milo, was the Cartel’s only child, and Jack had idolised him. Ianto knew there was more to it than that, back when they'd first met Jack had told him he'd had a crush on Milo. Ianto’s eyes darted between Milo and Jack, had anything actually gone on between them? He wondered suddenly feeling a surge of jealously rush over him.

---

Jack’s eyes flicked down to rest on Ianto’s hands and he noticed that he was rubbing at his finger anxiously, in the spot where his makeshift wedding band had once been.  Jack saw him looking at Milo, and realised that he’d figured out who he was. Jack wanted to reassure him that there wasn’t anything going on between them … not anymore at least, that had all been over and done with years ago. Milo hadn’t so much as looked at him in that way since he’d been made a Captain, it was too much of a risk to his career to be caught with a Jack who'd been a cadet at the time. Besides there had been no real feelings between them, they were friends for sure, and Jack did have a crush on him when he was younger. Things had eventually got physical between them one Summer after Milo had returned home from the Time Agency after a particularly gruelling mission, but Jack wasn't naive, he knew that Milo was just using him as a way to blow off steam, a way to forget about the stress of the job and it didn't bother Jack in the slightest. Milo had been Jack’s first crush, and quickly his first everything. They’d had fun together, and continued to do so when Jack followed him to the Time Agency, but that was all behind them now. Both Jack had Milo had moved on from that part of their lives without any bad feeling between them. So Ianto had no reason to feel threatened, Jack just wished he could get him alone to tell him that, to tell him that he didn’t want it to be over between them.

“Jack we should mingle,” John said noticing the way Jack was looking at Ianto and wanting to get him away quickly. “I look forward to seeing you in your training sessions, I’ll be your flight instructor,” he said to Taliah, Eric and Ianto before steering Jack away. Jack looked back wistfully at Ianto, and tried to tell him with looks alone that they’d talk soon. Ianto didn’t make eye contact with him though which worried Jack.

“Wow John Hart was the only student ever to ace the flight exams, could we ask for a better teacher?!” Taliah exclaimed. Eric nodded eagerly. Ianto just smiled, but it soon dropped – he didn’t like the thought of having anything to do with John Hart.

---

“We should mingle too,” Milo told them after a few moments of polite chit chat. “Congratulations again,” he smiled at the thee of them. Vanessa was about to leave when she stopped and turned to Ianto. “Some of the judges were unsure about you,” she told him as she took him to one side, so that they were out of earshot from Taliah and Eric. “We have never had anyone pre-21st Century train here,” she told him. “But Milo saw potential in you Jones, and I agreed. We fought to give you a chance, don’t let us down.”

“I won’t,” Ianto replied firmly, his teeth gritted together with determination.

“Well I’ll be keeping a close eye on you,” Vanessa said. Ianto thought she wa going to leave, but she leant in and whispered something in his ear. “And remember you’ll do well here if you make friends in the right places,” she said with a smirk as she drew back.

Ianto stared at Vanessa, was this woman really propositioning him? “There are rules against that sort of thing,” he told her.

Vanessa just chuckled. “You’ll soon learn that a lot happens behind closed doors,” he told him. “People can’t seem to resist when they know it’s against the rules,” she added with a smile. “Don’t look so shocked Jones, as long as there are no attachments then nobody gets hurt ... although I must say I find your innocence very endearing,” she laughed. “Just remember what I said about making the right kind of friends whilst you are here, you’re a good looking man, you should use that to your advantage during your time here,” she said before sauntering off to catch up with Milo.

Ianto just stared after her a little shocked, she seemed the sort of woman who got whatever she wanted thought and he didn’t doubt that she’d used her charm to work her way up to being made Captain.

“What did she want?” Taliah asked when Ianto re-joined her and Eric.

Ianto sighed. “Just to say that there were doubts over me, given the time I’m from and not to let them down,” he said deciding not to tell her anything else.

“You won’t,” Taliah smiled confidently.

Ianto smiled back, determined not to.

TBC
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