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ArWen the Eternally Surprised
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 Fellowship of Necessity
Submitter: Date: 2011/10/30 Views: 542
Chapter 6

Lights sparked and jumped, drifting through the darkness and clinging around him. They were too bright, casting everything else into ghostly shadows. Someone was holding him tightly, but he couldn't see them clearly, just feel their arms warm around him and their solid heat at his back, supporting him. The ringing and crackling in his ears faded, and he could finally hear Ianto murmuring to him and calling him back. He shuddered and turned, reaching out to where he thought Ianto's face was, tracing it with his fingers. Ianto pulled back suddenly and he froze. "What did I do?"

"You poked me in the eye," Ianto took his hand and squeezed it. "We had to get you to the hotel down the road, told them you'd had a fit and we needed to get you indoors when they asked. Jack, what's wrong?"

He choked and flexed his fingers against Ianto's, pulling his hand out of his grip so that he could trace his fingertips down his arm. "I can't see... I can't see you. I can just see white, and light and... oh God. Ianto..."

Ianto reached out and gathered him in again, pressing Jack's face into his neck. "Hey, it's okay. I've got you, we'll look after you."

"Ianto, they're in my mind..." he swallowed hard and shook, pressing himself even further against Ianto. "They can hear me, and I can hear them. They know, they know..."

"They already knew, Jack, you're not letting them know anything they didn't already."

"They didn't know about you, about us," he clutched at Ianto's T shirt and his breath hitched. "They know now."

"Let them know," Ianto shifted Jack until his head was tucked under Ianto's chin and he was settled more comfortably against him. "We'll deal with this Jack."

"No, no, you have to leave me behind," he pulled away and shut his eyes tightly against the fierce light. "They can't... they'll know."

"I am not leaving you behind, okay?" Ianto gathered him up again and he hid from the light. "Now take deep breaths and calm down, we'll sort this."

He did as he was told for a while, then sighed. "Sorry."

Ianto laughed tensely and squeezed him tighter. "You were killed, then woke up to discover that someone's in your mind and you can't see. Even you're allowed to freak out at some things, Jack."

"We need to tell the others, decide what we're going to do about it," he burrowed further into Ianto and chanced a look out at the world, now able to focus more on individual points of light. "I can't risk it destroying our chances."

"Whatever happens, Jack, I'll be with you. I'm not leaving you behind, and you're not going anywhere without me, okay?"

He nodded and relaxed slightly more. "I need to see the Doctor."

"Yep," Ianto kissed the top of his head and rested his chin on it again. "Next stop, the Doctor."

Owen came to find them first, to check on his patient. He was pleased to see that Jack was alive again, which implied that he'd been out a long time. Jack sat in the middle of the bed, with the shadows of Ianto and Owen behind and in front of him, whilst Owen tried to figure out what was wrong with him. "You've got no optical responses at all to visible light," he said at last. "But you can see me, right?"

"I can see where you are," he corrected. "You're a shadow, almost a ghost. I can see where you are, because it's where nothing else is."

"Okay, so what can you see clearly?"

He looked around and frowned. "Something really bright over there."

"Over there?" Ianto leaned in closer to him and Jack could feel his breath on the back of his neck. "Our bags are over there."

"My bag," he realised. "The thing."

"And what would you bet that you now see like they do?" Ianto's arms wrapped around his chest again and tightened. "You're cold, you feel..."

"Like I'm still dead," Jack finished for him. "Yeah, you're really warm."

"Well, at least we know it's not going to kill you. Just... Stick close to Ianto if something starts taking you over, your instinct to protect him will be stronger than for the rest of us."

Jack swallowed. "Don't let me hurt him."

"I'm the only one strong enough to stand up to you," Ianto pointed out against his ear. "Apart from Rick, and the instinct to break his neck is already too strong."

"I might just do it and use the excuse," he leaned back against Ianto again and squeezed Ianto's arms. "I can't be immortally blind," he whispered. "I just couldn't cope. Not like this."

Ianto kissed him behind his ear. "We won't let that happen, I promise. Owen, go and tell the others. And tell Rick we need a change of plan. If they can read Jack's mind, we can't go by the route he knows."

"I should have thought of that," he growled, burying his face in his hands to hide from some of the light. "I hate this."

"I know," Ianto squeezed him again, then brought one hand up to cover Jack's eyes. "It's up to us to look after you now, Jack. You're going to have to get used to it for a while."

"I shouldn't," he protested fiercely. "That's my job, I'm here to... Your hand across my eyes works better than mine."

"Of course," Ianto sounded like he was being offended to cover up how worried he was. "I'm better at most things than you."

"No, I... it's like you're more here than I am..." he planted his hand over Ianto's. "I don't know what's happening to me."

"We'll find out, and we'll stop it," Ianto told him softly. "The Doctor will know what to do."

"That's what I thought last time. And look at me, still immortal."

They moved off as soon as Jack was ready, a wait that took longer than he was used to. Ianto held his hand to lead him, and they took narrow pathways through the countryside. Jack could smell the sea and feel the breeze, but all he could see ahead of him was dark shadow and a glow far, far in the distance. "We're on the coast," he guessed. "On top of a cliff?"

"Yeah, you have to tread carefully," Ianto told him, tugging on his hand. "I don't think I could cope with seeing you die twice, and there's altogether too many spectators."

"Noted," he closed his eyes and concentrated on the feel of the ground beneath his feet, checking that each step was safe and secure before he put his weight on it. Ianto stayed close, waiting for him and guiding him past obstacles like a tree root across the path and a rock that jutted out of the path, worn smooth and slippery by hiking boots. Apart from the fact that he couldn't see, and his constant awareness of the device in the bag on his back, Jack could almost believe that it was a nice day out, taking the time together that they were given and just enjoying it. The sun was warm above them, the wind was cool. He turned to Ianto and smiled. "You'll get sunburnt."

Ianto chuckled. "Well, I'll let you treat it if I do."


"Your idiot," he tugged on Jack's hand again. "Dog crap."

"Oh lovely. You take me to the nicest places."

"We're nearly there. There's an ice cream kiosk on the beach, you can buy me an ice cream," Ianto was smiling, Jack could hear it. "Nearly at the bottom of the path."

"Did you just say bath?"

"No, I said path. You've got sex on the brain."

"Or maybe I just want a bath," he sniffed the air. "Fish and chips."

"I assume that's not at the same time as the bath?" Ianto checked.

"No, I mean I can smell fish and chips. Whoa," he stumbled and Ianto swung around to catch him, pressing Jack against his chest and holding him tightly. "Thanks."

"Don't mention it," he released him slowly and settled him back on his feet properly. "I want to say you'll get used to it, but I don't want you to get used to it."

"Me neither," they looked at each other in silence, Ianto watching the way Jack's unseeing eyes flicked around the edge of the shadow and then drifted off into the distance somewhere behind him. "Whatever happens, I'm going to see you again. I hate not being able to see you."

Ianto slid his fingers down Jack's arm and took his hand again. "You'll see me again."

"Yeah," he forced a smile and twined his fingers through Ianto's as they set off again.

Rick poked his head into the cabin at the back of the boat and studied the two men in the half light. Jack had his face pressed into Ianto's chest, hiding from the brightness that had actually intensified rather than dimmed since he'd been blinded in Ely two days before. They spent all day in the cabin, whilst Tosh and Owen spent as much time as they could on deck, giving the two men as much space and privacy as they could. They were all worried about Jack, and as he couldn't see them, none of them was scare of letting it show. He leaned against the door jam, propping his foot against it for extra support as the boat swayed again.

He didn't know Ianto was awake before he spoke. "You've not got gay friends, have you?"

"Not that I see sleeping," he admitted. "And they're not even big on public displays of affection. I never really..."


"Never thought I'd be jealous of two guys," he shrugged. "It's... you're obviously not just together because you can't get a girl."


He looked away from Ianto's slightly patronising smile, then back to them. "He's not awake?"

"No," Ianto shifted again so that he could look down at Jack better. "It's not like him to sleep like this."

"He's ill, Ianto," Rick sighed and closed his eyes, dropping his head back against the door. "You're allowed to be worried."

"I don't have a choice in the matter. He's so cold, it's strange. Normally he's so warm."

He crossed the room and bent over them, pressing his fingers to the back of Jack's neck. His eyes widened and he stepped back. "He's as cold as..."

"As if he were dead, I know," Ianto huffed against Jack's cheek and turned away. "I can't let him go, because the only way I know he's alive is by feeling his heartbeat. I keep having to check."

"Ianto?" Jack sighed and dragged Ianto's hand up to cover his eyes. "Still here."

"Yeah, I can tell," Ianto flattened his hand over Jack's eyes and looked over at Rick. Jack's words were slurred and heavy, as if he were heavily drugged, and his movements had been clumsy. He shivered against Ianto, who tugged the quilt up over him and held him tight. "How far off are we?"

"A way off," he held up three fingers for Ianto and mouthed 'days'. "We'll get you seen to soon, Jack."

"Not bloody soon enough," Ianto muttered.

Jack stood on the deck with Ianto's arms tight around him and looked out over the coast with his sightless eyes, looking for any of the light that would show up their pursuers. He shook his head and leaned back into Ianto's eyes further. "Nothing, no sign of them."

"Fortunate," Rick commented. "And just slightly suspicious." The country wasn't overrun, but there were scouts and patrol groups abroad. The Spanish army had taken out a patrol group, and the entire country had been brought under heel in retaliation; millions were dead or missing and the rest were enslaved. The message was clear keep your nose clean and we'll come to you later rather than sooner. But the fact that they'd managed to avoid any attention at all, that was suspicious.

"Maybe they're still waiting for us wherever Jack thinks we are," Owen suggested.

Jack shook his head and regretted it. "They're not, because they know we're not there. Maybe they just don't know where to look for us."

Ianto's grip tightened around his chest and he closed his eyes, turning into him. "Jack, stay with us."

"Can't," he realised, even as he said it. "Too bright."

Instantly, Ianto's hand flattened over his eyes, but that meant that his grip supporting Jack wasn't as strong, and his knees started to give. "Jack, Jack don't you dare."

"Sorry," he turned around to lean against Ianto more. "Can we get indoors first?"

They managed to get him halfway there before the world went white and cold.

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