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Author: Ria Time: 2007/11/22
Arwen encounters a strange monk and gains a little extra time.
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The Clash of Worlds: The Three Paths
Submitter: Date: 2011/10/30 Views: 196
Chapter 9

Andrea was still bound as Yves' prisoner, a fact which Jack had argued with him over. In the end, he'd been given a choice between Andrea being bound and Ianto being bound and, after a pause that had turned Ianto's expression dark, Jack had stepped back and allowed them to continue as they were. Now, he and Ianto were side by side in the back of the van, legs pressed together by the space constraints, not out of choice.

He reached over, just a short distance, and placed his hand on Ianto's leg, half expecting it to be pushed away. Ianto didn't look at him, but did give a sigh that told Jack he'd noticed. He smiled sadly and rubbed Ianto's leg, missing the feel of fine wool suits. "You know I'll always choose you, don't you?"

Ianto sighed again and covered his hand. "I don't know anything these days, Jack. You nearly..."

"She's a child," Jack told him. "Just a child, and a child I betrayed. I thought you understood."

"I don't trust her."

"I noticed." he bumped his shoulder against Ianto's deliberately. "If you don't trust her, trust me? Please? I need you on my side."

"I am on your side, Jack." Ianto sighed and tilted his head so it rested against Jack's. "I;ll always be on your side."

Jack squeezed his hand and sighed. It had never been much of an adventure, but every day it turned more into a nightmare, and all he wanted to do was wake up.


Marsa Alam was the end of the road, literally. Beyond the town was a dirt track that led to a beaching point for the fishing boats and then nothing. Just desert. What not even the residents knew was that there was a UNIT for in the desert behind the town, accessible only by the multi-terrain vehicles which passed along the edge of the town in the dead of night, when parents told their children to close their eyes and hope that the spirits passed by.

The UNIT base of Marsam was the last line of defence, and was preparing to launch an assault on the ship in the hopes of destroying it and the Lashimi's control, and Marsa Alam, as the most obvious inhabited point in the area, had become the target for reprisals. Captain Charlond's force were to mount a defence of the town, to keep the enemy's attention there for just a little longer. It was a desperate suicide mission, and one which Jack wanted Ianto nowhere near.

He pulled Yves aside as soon as they arrived in the town and remonstrated with him. "We have a task to complete, and you're just going to get us killed if you keep us here."

"My decision, Captain Harkness, is final. You cannot be left to wander alone."

He growled and tightened his grip. "Then let Ianto go, please. Just get him out of here."

Yves sighed and shrugged Jack's hand off. "You know he won't leave without you. And I don't have the men to spare to get him to safety. I'm sorry, Jack, but you're in the middle of things, whether you like it or not."

Jack returned to Ianto and avoided his gaze, settling next to him in the ruins of an abandoned house, backs against the wall that faced the waterfront, side by side. Ianto poked the ground with a stick and sighed. "He wouldn't release her?"

"You," Jack corrected him, running his fingers through filthy hair. "I wanted him to get you to safety."

"Oh."

"He wouldn't," he continued. "Said he didn't have the manpower to spare. I don't... I don't want to lose you."

Ianto poked him with the stick and smiled sidelong. "I'm tenacious, remember? They're going to give us weapons, right?"

Jack hugged his shoulders and caught his chin with one finger, turning his face so that he could kiss him firmly. "I love you."

"I know." Ianto returned the embrace and glared at the wall. "I love you too, you know that, right?"

"Yeah, I know." Jack held him tighter and closed his eyes. "This can't be the end."

"I won't let it be," Ianto promised.


They watched the busy activity, a lot of which was men taking things from one building to another and then bringing them back, to give the impression of a lot more activity than there was and to distract from the gun placements being set up. Jack and Ianto wandered through it, doing as they were told because it was better than sitting around doing nothing. As a result, they were out in the open when Jack felt the first stab of pain that nearly brought him to his knees, and they heard the screech that sent the men hurrying for shelter, leaving Jack and Ianto exposed.

Ianto looked at the nearest doorway, where one of the men was beckoning to him, and tugged on Jack's shoulder again, trying to raise him. "Come on, Jack," he begged. "I'm not going to leave you."

"Ianto, it hurts," Jack curled up tighter and wouldn't be moved, and the Lashimi flew closer. "I can hear it."

"Come on," he gave up coaxing Jack into movement and crouched over him, trying to protect him with his own body if he could do nothing else. From the boxes they'd been carrying, he drew a heavy gun and aimed it at the figure approaching them. "Didn't want to die for you," he whispered, "but I always knew I would. Please forgive me."

He opened fire and bullet glanced off the defensive plates and the armour of the Lashimi as it pulled to a stop facing him. They did nothing, apart from make it smile. He swallowed hard and raised his gun again, trying to ignore Jack's sobs.

And then there was an almighty explosion, and he was shattered with shrapnel from the Lashimi's flying machine. Yves shouldered an RPG launcher with a grin that would have done Jack proud and saluted him. "Thanks for providing a distraction, Ianto. Couldn't have hit it without you."

Ianto ignored him, kneeling next to Jack's prone form and pulling his arms away from his head so that he could gather him close and rock him whilst he sobbed himself out. "It's okay, Jack. Come on, we have to get to safety."

Gradually, Jack pulled himself together, and further into Ianto, but Ianto managed to get him to his feet and back into the shelter of the building where Yves was waiting. He wouldn't let go of Ianto, but managed to take deep breaths to calm his nerves and loosen his grip. Ianto glared at Yves over his head. "You could have warned me. I would still have done it, but knowingly."

Yves shrugged. "It hadn't occurred to me until I saw your Juliet moment. Set her loose."

Ianto blinked at them and watched as they pulled Andrea from a corner of the hut and untied her, then pushed her towards him and Jack.

Yves folded his arms and nodded. "We'll take you to the edge of the town and you can make your own way from there."

Jack unfolded himself from Ianto and stood up. "Thank you." He smiled, brittle and, to Ianto, beautiful. "Can you lend us a map as well?"

Andrea stuck close to them when they were shown out of town, but cringed away when they looked at her. Jack shouldered his pack and offered his hand to Yves. "I would say thanks, but..."

"I'll earn it later," Yves promised. "Stay safe, good luck with your mission."

Ianto nodded. "See you on the other side."

Yves smiled darkly. "Oh, I doubt it."

They slipped out from the edge of the town as night descended, back along the coast to find the entrance to the tunnel.

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