Kate (arwen_kenobi) wrote in jackxianto,

Fic: Crossing Lines (7/11[?])

Title: Crossing Lines
Author: arwen_kenobi
Rating: PG-13 (language, violence)
Spoilers: Children of Earth, scattered ones for the rest of the series
Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to the BBC. Everything you don't is mine.
Summary: It's seven months after the events of "Crossing Back" and the fun begins with a building collapse.
Author's Notes: Sequel to Crossing Back and Crossing Eyes and Dotting Tees. I'd highly recommend reading those first before you attempt this or nothing with make sense. Be warned that Crossing Back is a fix-it fic.

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six

“Moira was your fiancée?” Harry sputtered. “What deluded person would ever consent to marry you?”

“What deluded person would ever consider even shagging you?” John retorted and threw a knowing smirk at Mel. “Care to answer that?” he asked her.

The punch flew fast and furious and Ianto found him and Gwen working to keep John back while Jack held retrained Mel and whispered something in her ear that made her stop. “Mind getting to the point, John?” Jack demanded as they all settled back down. Mel once again sitting next to John but John skirting far to the other side of the couch.

“Moira’s from 19th century London,” he explained. “Not my favourite place to be so that’s not where I met her. She was visiting her sister in Cardiff and got sucked up by the Rift. I’m sure you lot know what happens in most cases.”

Gwen nodded reverently. They all did. “I was rolling in on some residual energy,” John continued, “and she literally smashed into me and wound up in the Vegas galaxy with me.”

It meant nothing to Ianto but Jack’s eyes seemed ready to pop out of his head. “Please don’t tell me,” he prayed in the voice of the last sane person in the universe, “that you took a 19th century woman to the Vegas galaxy.”

John winked. “It takes a lot to get them to lose that morality but, when you manage it, it is so worth it.”

Ianto shook his head back and forth to clear that mental image. He didn’t know who Moira Stewart was but he knew enough that she was too good for the likes of John Hart. Too good for him and too good for whatever he did to her. “I take it the galaxy has those wedding chapels they have in America?”

“You bet. I was working on getting her to one of those.”

“Why?” Gwen demanded. “You certainly had a few things to say about my marrying Rhys last time you were here.”

“Well,” John chuckled. “You did it all backwards, love,” he lectured sweetly. “You have to break them and have your way with them first. That and you have to get married in Vegas, I mean come on!”

Jack’s shout of ‘Enough’ echoed through the room and made everyone flinch. “I don’t want to hear about your corruption of this woman unless you want me to kill you. Now what happened to her?”

“She died,” John squeaked incredulously. “It wasn’t me either. She came down with some fucked up virus with a weird name. Hex, something...

“Hexdrac-381,” Harry supplied.

“That’s it! Messy slow death that was.”

Harry arched an eyebrow. “There is an antidote, you know.”

John rolled his eyes. “Yes, doctor, I know there’s a bleedin’ antidote. I just couldn’t fucking get any because the Vegas galaxy tends to not like to get involved with the more exotic diseases.”

Harry opened his mouth to make some sort of objection but Jack stopped him. “It’s true,” Jack assured him. “The Vegas galaxy is the last place you want to get sick in. They won’t let you leave, or anyone that came with you, and they won’t get you help either.”

Jack looked over at Ianto, who shared the same knowing glance. They knew what an accelerated form of the disease felt like. Lord knew the suffering this woman had gone through before she’d succumbed.

“Doesn’t explain the ghost thing,” Ianto continued, driving the conversation back to the real problem. “I’ve never seen anyone act like that while dead. Did she pop up right away?”

John shook his head. “She popped up when I arrived in Cardiff,” he declared to everyone’s shock. “If she was there before I never saw her. I was planning to come here anyway but I wanted to take a stroll through this lovely city before hopefully disappearing into Jack’s bed for a few days.” He didn’t see Jack’s lethal glare but his face fell anyway. “There she was,” he breathed, “just hanging out right in front of me when I popped in. Couldn’t shake her no matter what I did and no one else saw her. You think people think you’re mad when you walk around dressed in ‘period,’ wait until you run from things that aren’t there.”

That was an amusing image, Ianto had to admit. The great John Hart bolting down a crowded street screaming about bogey women. He smirked slightly.

“You know something, dead man?” John snapped. “Or are you just going to keep laughing at me?”

“Might do,” Ianto replied mildly. “Or I say we check out Cardiff in the morning and sort out if there’s anything there that would have a draw on Moira, aside from you.”

“I’m not enough?”

Ianto rolled his eyes. “Dead man, remember? I’ve been a ghost and I can tell you right now that if what you’re implying were true then I would have been hanging around Jack along with everyone else he’s loved that’s died.” Now there was a depressing thought. If when you died you were condemned to follow around the one you loved for the rest of their lives. Then what would happen after they died? Would there just be clusters of ghosts following everyone around? Ianto set his shoulders to stop the oncoming shudder. He didn’t think anyone noticed.

“You’re the expert,” John admitted somewhat grudgingly after a moment. “But why not now? I want this bitch gone!”

Ianto believed he should have a prize for managing to keep his annoyed sigh from turning into a proper growl. “Look, I’ve already had one hell of a day without you showing up and I refuse to even touch this insanity without a decent night’s sleep.”

He distinctly heard everyone voice their agreement in one form or another, all except Harry. “Harry?” he called once he saw that he had left the group.

“Right here,” replied the medic as he bounced back up to the main Hub. “Just setting up a space for Captain Hart.”

“Where are you stashing me?” he asked as he moved to follow Harry. “The morgue?”

“Not quite,” Harry answered and then, quite amicably, stabbed John in the neck with a syringe. He dropped to the floor like a tonne of bricks. “I’m not risking him doing something while we’re sleeping,” Harry explained to his stunned co-workers. “That will put him out and only another shot from me will wake him up.”

Mel smirked. “Morpheus 2?” That was Harry’s most recent brain child. He’d only just run a successful human test last month – on a then possessed Andy Davidson.

Harry glowed at Mel’s praise. Ianto rolled his eyes again and he could hear Gwen and Jack chuckling. Honestly, those two needed to get together for the sake of the future of the team’s sanity. He was quite sure Gwen and Jack would explode one day soon and he did not want to be the one who had to clean that nonsense up.

“Alright,” Jack announced once he had his voice steady again. “Let’s move him.”
- - -

Harry, despite having every faith in his serum, had been the one to insist that John be strapped down to the examination table. Ianto hoped they unstrapped him before they woke him up, he doubted he’d ever be in the mood to hear the things that would leave John’s mouth about seeing that. No one wanted to leave the hub either in case of failure either. Out came the Torchwood cots and everyone spread out. Gwen and Harry were set up in the main workspace closest to the medbay. Mel was sleeping up on the catwalk with her rifle at the ready right across the medbay and over Gwen and Harry like a guardian angel. No need to be floral, actually. Mel was lying in wait like a protective sniper and that was that.

Ianto and Jack were sleeping in Jack’s office, door open. This was more at the team’s insistence and Ianto was glad of it. They’d had a hell of a day and they needed a bit of time together. Especially to break down Jack’s flashback. Ianto also had to admit that he was very glad that his apparent immortality was being put on the backburner.

“So you didn’t remember any of it until I told you?” Jack asked him again.

“Not all of it,” Ianto sighed. He’d warned Jack that he’d lose things and even when he’d first come back it had been like grasping at straws. “I remember that Tosh found me, I remember trying to find you but those bits of conversation only really came back as you told them to me.”

Jack hummed in thought, pushed the cot open and then threw himself on it. “Think it has something to do with Moira?”

“I doubt it. It’s not like either of us knew her so she’s not here for us. She’s here for John or whatever is here. That’s not connected to us.”

“Maybe it’s you,” Jack suggested. “Maybe you brought something back with you.”

Ianto snorted. “I don’t see any Weevils cowering in fear when I approach,” he quipped. “It’s not me but it easily could have been.” He stopped at that last statement. That hadn’t been what he’d meant to say. Somewhere he heard Jack asking him what that meant but all he saw was their flat looking a little more than soulless and a Jack with red rimmed eyes throwing what appeared to be glasses at something. That blurred into a weeping Jack leaning against a wall and, somewhere along the edges of Jack he could make out something that looked suspiciously like his own shoulders.

“Ianto? You okay?”

“Yeah,” Ianto mumbled. “Think I’m seeing something myself.”

“Care to share?”

“Not yet,” Ianto shook his head. “I need to find a way to describe it before I can say anything...” That was honest. He didn’t know how to explain what all that was.


“Not sure, but certainly sad.”

Jack let it drop at that and beckoned Ianto onto the cot. Ianto pulled off his tie, jacket and waistcoat and settled in next to Jack. Normally he hated sleeping in his clothes but there was no way he was going to risk John walking in and finding him half naked. Dead Man was not a nice nickname but it was worlds better than Eye Candy.

“We still need Harry to look over you,” Jack reminded him softly. Being careful to not upset him.

Ianto responded with warmth, he had to reward Jack somewhere and there was no way he was turning around to face Jack. He’d flip them over. “I know. I’ll do it after we get Hart sorted. I don’t want him to know.”

As he and Jack said their good nights, and got as comfortable as they could, Ianto got the nagging feeling that John would find out soon enough.

- - -

Music entered Jack’s dream, or at least what thought was a dream. When the world solidified into what appeared to be a 1950s dance hall with Jimmy Ruffin himself singing “Turn Back the Hands of Time.” He’d never been to this dance hall and had never seen Jimmy Ruffin perform; it hadn’t really been his scene. Then he wondered if he had, in fact, died when he saw Toshiko Sato in a lovely little black dress beside him.

“What do you think?” she asked, gesturing at the hall and the crowd of people dancing. What he wanted to say was that she looked fantastic and he wanted to spin her around but his mouth wouldn’t open and his arms wouldn’t move. The voice that did eventually leave him wasn’t of his own volition and it certainly was not his own.

“I think you’re trying to kill me,” answered Ianto’s voice. It all clicks then. This is another flashback and this time he’s getting it directly from his point of view. So where were they?

That was answered right on demand with teasing smile and a little headshake from Tosh. “You’re already dead, silly!” He might have known.

Ianto snorted. “Like I’d forgotten,” he griped.

“Look,” Tosh said, taking his/their hand and squeezing. “I thought this might cheer you up a bit. We go dancing while Owen is off with Katie for a bit.”

“Good to know someone’s on good terms with their ex,” Ianto grumbles.

Tosh squeezed again. “I’m sorry about Lisa not taking it better.”

Jack felt a cringe go through him and he wasn’t sure if it was from him or from Ianto. Lisa and Ianto had been fairly serious before Canary Wharf had happened and destroyed them both – Jack was fairly certain that if he ever went back and time and met the Ianto of those days he would never have recognized him. Ianto had changed so much and Lisa, despite being dead, certainly would have as well. Ianto had said once before that he doubted he was the person that Lisa had fallen in love with anymore. The implication here was that the meeting had gone poorly; it seems that they had both been right and Jack was truly sorry for that.

Ianto sighed. “I told the truth,” he said with finality and resignation. “I believe what I said and I think she knows it as well. We’re two different people now, that’s why it went so poorly. I’m obviously not much in a dancing mood as a result.”

Owen appeared out of nowhere with a quip about Ianto not wanting to dance even at the best of times, which was true enough, and then asked Tosh for a dance. Tosh pauses for a moment, obviously hesitant to leave Ianto by himself. “Go on,” Ianto predictably urges. “I’ll be fine.”

Tosh took Owen’s offered arm and leads his partner away. “Oh!” he starts. “Here’s something to try,” he begins. “You can conjure up your own dance partner if you like. Anyone you like. Living, dead, mortal or otherwise.” Jack rolled his eyes. Owen was not the most subtle of beings but this was ridiculous and almost beyond cruel. The suggestion that Ianto would do such a fanciful, saccharine thing was insane.

Except the next thing he knew he was looking through Ianto’s eyes at a perfect image of himself. He felt surprise rock through him and he knew that wasn’t his own. Obviously this had not been intentional. Ianto had mentioned something about Owen being able to operate outside of what would be considered ‘normal’ parameters. He wasn’t sure whether Owen was doing Ianto a favour here or not. The image opened its mouth to say something but Ianto’s hand waved to shush it. “Don’t,” he ordered. “Just...just give me a dance, okay?”

It was very odd, Jack decided, to be dancing with himself. Really it was Ianto dancing and he was just along for the ride. For all intents and purposes, however, he was Ianto and he still can’t help feeling the surreal quality of this. He also can’t help but feel honoured and his heart begins to break once Jimmy Ruffin begins to sing “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.” All you had to do was look over here, Jimmy, Jack thought.

They made it halfway through the song when Ianto pulled out of the doppelganger’s arms and curtly ordered it away. It vanished with a look of dejection and then they stormed out onto what seemed to be a balcony looking over an ordinary street. There was, however, a familiar looking disembodied doorway between two buildings that was surrounded by a small crowd. As Tosh and Owen appeared beside them, a woman stepped through that door and was immediately swept into the arms of her boyfriend/husband/whatever. A joyful reunion after who knows what amount of time.

“I’m never going to get that aren’t I?” Ianto all but choked. “I could stand there and wait until the universe explodes or something and even then...”

Jack always knew that immorality was a curse, had been preaching it for years, but he wanted to take it all back in this moment. This was worse. This was so much worse. On this side of things you knew damn well that a reunion was possible. You see it all the time and you know that that might never well happen because the one you’re waiting for cannot die. Tosh thankfully chose that moment to hug Ianto tight and Jack thanks whatever there is that will hear him that at least Ianto was not alone.

Suddenly, Jack heard his own voice echo through his and Ianto’s collective head. It’s an opinion about coffee and Ianto replied aloud. “It’s awful, sir. Don’t spend your money in this sordid establishment again. And why the hell are you in Beijing anyway?”

What? Jack wondered. What in the name of...

“Who were you talking to,” Owen asked sharply.

“Jack,” Ianto said frankly. “He asked my opinion on a coffee shop and I gave it.”

That doesn’t make any sense. Jack knew damn well that in real time he was moping around in the living world somewhere and Ianto is obviously here in wherever land away from bad coffee and away from him. Then it hit him that he always used to talk to Ianto in his head, or at least that’s what he had thought for most of the time he’d done it, while he’d been gone. He’d ask his opinion on things and sometimes he’d hear an answer. This was what it looked like on Ianto’s end of things obviously. And this was obviously news for Tosh and Owen.

“You can hear him?” Tosh whispered.

“Sometimes,” Ianto said. “Last time was three weeks ago.”

“Wait, wait, wait!” Owen sputters. “You know how much time has passed since you died?”

An eyebrow raises. “Four months, one week,” Ianto recited. “Don’t you know?”

Tosh shook her head violently. “No, no one knows! There’s no time here or you’d go mad knowing how long it’s been since you’d breathed or seen your loved ones.”

“Great,” Ianto grumbles. “I’m going to go mad despite not having any brain chemistry. It would be me.”

“Something’s wrong,” Owen said to himself. “Come on,” he grabbed Tosh and Ianto by the hands and dragged him out. Jack was out on his own again watching the three of them rush out into the distance, leaving the nostalgia party in their wake.

The world around Jack began to fade, and Jack soon went with it.

Chapter Eight


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