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Ariadne's Thread 7/15

Word Count: ~ 31.000
Summary: An accident in the archives lands Torchwood agents Jack and Gwen in an alternate dimension, where they unexpectedly meet the Warehouse 13 agents Artie and Claudia, swept away by an artefact as well. To survive, the two organisations need to join forces: Ianto and Rhys travel to South Dakota while the castaways try to outrun a deadly enemy.
Characters: Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Claudia Donovan, Arthur Nielsen, Ianto Jones, Steve Jinks, Rhys Williams, Myka Bering, Pete Lattimer, Leena, Mrs. Frederick, Trailer, OCs
Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Pete/Kelly Hernandez (hinted), Artie/Vanessa Calder (hinted)
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: Something Borrowed, Exit Wounds / Doctor Who: The Sound Of Drums
Setting: after Exit Wounds
Crossover: Warehouse 13
Crossover-Setting: after Lovesick
Crossover-Spoilers: The New Guy, Lovesick
Warnings: Mention of canon character deaths, language
Contains: Canon slash
Author's Note: This is quite literally a product of a dream I had. And then I thought that those two shows wouldn't make a bad match. And so, this happened.
Beta: larsinger29 and EmrysofWriting, thank you. :)
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-shows Torchwood and Warehouse 13 and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.


Chapter Six
Ariadne's Thread Masterlist

***
***


7.



Sioux Falls was roughly a four-hour car ride away from the Warehouse. Steve volunteered. It gave him something better to do than worry about Claudia.

Ianto Jones, still wearing his impeccable suit, was a tall man with dark hair and a serious expression on his boyish face. He didn't come alone. He'd brought the other man – Rhys Williams – with him. Rhys was dressed more casually. He had a friendly face and light-brown hair. The Warehouse Agents had checked his and Ianto's files. Rhys was a manager at Harwoods Lorries. Steve wondered if he would be up for what awaited them.

When they pulled away from the airport, Steve asked, ”Do you have security clearance, Rhys?”

Rhys frowned at him from the back seat, his friendly face set in determination. ”That's my wife who vanished. So you better be prepared to-”

”He works with us sometimes,” Ianto interrupted Rhys and Steve saw him turn his head to look warningly at him over his shoulder. Then he looked back at Steve. ”He'll be fine.”

Steve nodded. ”Right.” They left the city behind, driving on the highway. ”We researched Torchwood, found some classified stuff and managed to get some information via our contacts high up.”

”That saves me the explanation,” Ianto replied.

”I guess you did your homework as well?”

”I had to make sure I can trust you. Don't get me wrong but we have experiences with very cunning schemes – once, our Prime Minister turned out to be an alien hell-bent on taking over Earth. Since I'm the only Torchwood Agent left at the moment, I had to be careful.”

Steve nodded in understanding. ”So, who exactly are you missing?”

”Our leader Captain Jack Harkness and Agent Gwen Cooper.”

Steve needed a moment to understand what Ianto was telling him. ”Are you saying that you're only three people?” he asked in disbelief.

It as quiet for a long moment, then Ianto answered, ”There were more of us. Our headquarters in London was destroyed a few years ago, the branch in Scotland was closed down recently. We lost two team mates just a few days ago.”

”I'm sorry.”

”No worries. Not your fault.”

Steve thought that – in the end – there wasn't that big a difference between the Torchwood team and the Warehouse team. They were five people themselves – six, if you counted Leena. He wondered sometimes what they would do if something terrible happened … if two or more of them died. It was a distinct possibility. Working at the Warehouse was dangerous. Artefacts had fatal side effects and were constantly used against them.

The silence in the car was alright for Steve and Ianto didn't seem bothered by it as well, preferring to work on his PDA. Rhys on the other hand started to become uncomfortable and finally asked, ”Who exactly are you missing?”

”Our leader as well – Artie Nielsen.”

Still looking at his PDA, Ianto said, ”He has a colourful past.”

”He does but he's absolutely trustworthy, a good guy – just a bit grumpy.”

”And the other one?”

”Claudia Donovan. Colourful past too, but the exact opposite of Artie where the general mood is concerned.” He paused. ”She's my best friend.”

Ianto looked up from his PDA. Steve wondered if he was looking at their files right this minute. He caught the comforting smile on Ianto's lips when he said, ”A colourful past is pretty much required if you want to work for Torchwood. We'll get her back. All of them.”

”I hope you're right,” Steve replied. He sighed. ”We're not going to the Warehouse tonight. It's going to be late by the time we get back and you must be exhausted. We have rooms for you at the B&B where we live. The owner Leena is already expecting you for dinner. Myka and Pete will meet us there and we'll talk. You can get some sleep before we get to work tomorrow.”

Ianto was reluctant. ”I don't know if that's a good idea. We should get to work immediately.”

”Believe me, the Warehouse is a place you better enter wide-awake the first time. The artefacts are inactive but they always exert a certain kind of pull that can cause you to touch them and that can get deadly. It's stronger the more tired you are.” He glanced at Ianto. “It's not like we're not doing anything at all. We'll talk through what we tried to get them back and what you tried back home and make a plan.”

Ianto nodded, giving in.

***

Jack turned his head in Claudia's direction when she climbed up the last bit of the shelf to join him. She sat next to him, dangling her feet over the edge, and looked out over the rows of shelves towards the office. From the floor, Artie's snores drifted up and Claudia leaned over to look down at him. He was sleeping, sitting up against the shelf. Gwen sat opposite him, asleep as well.

Jack nudged her with his shoulder. ”You should be sleeping.”

Claudia turned to look at him. ”Artie's snoring.” She pulled a face when her stomach cramped uncomfortably. ”I can't sleep anyway. I'm so hungry.” She wished Artie would have had his bag with him. The huge, old thing always contained lunch for emergencies: sandwiches, fruit and some cookies. What she wouldn't give for them … Jack turned his head away, staring at the office. She suggested carefully, ”So, you could go to sleep and I'll keep watch.”

Jack threw her a smile. ”I don't sleep.” He seemed to be completely honest about that, his blue eyes earnest. ”Well, I don't need to.”

”No kidding?” Claudia asked.

Jack shook his head.

”How come?”

”Long story.” He sighed. ”I don't think we really need a guard anyway.”

The change in topic was abrupt, but Claudia accepted it. ”Why?”

”Didn't you notice?” Jack stared at her searchingly. Ever so slowly, Claudia started to feel uncomfortable under his gaze. She wondered if it had been the right move to come up here. Jack was so weird, in a way, mysterious. He seemed trustworthy but also distant, warm but also strict. Gwen was easier to figure out. But somehow, Claudia just felt secure around Jack. It was a similar feeling she'd had around Artie from the very first moment and that caused her to trust Jack as well.

Now, Jack seemed to wait for an answer, staring at her curiously. She looked towards the office and then her eyes widened in realization. ”As soon as we were far enough away from the office, the Minotaur stopped chasing us.” She looked at Jack. ”You think it's guarding a certain perimeter.”

Jack grinned proudly and nodded. ”Would only be fair to give the contestants a place to find some rest,” he answered. ”Which makes me think that the thread is in the office.”

”Could be,” Claudia said with a nod.

For a moment, they were quiet. Claudia glanced at Jack. He looked grim and worried … and like someone who didn't quite belong. He seemed to notice her staring and smiled at her. ”Are you even old enough to work here?”

”I'm old enough to drink,” she answered and pulled a face, admitting, ”barely.” He raised his eyebrows and Claudia shrugged. ”I'm used to it. I certainly had it worse.” Jack just kept staring at her and Claudia started to feel uncomfortable again. ”What?”

”You're older than you look.”

”Gee, thanks, just what a girl wants to hear.”

”No, I mean you've seen more than you should have.” He turned away to look towards the office again. ”I'm surrounded by people like you. I recognize them.” He sounded sad, almost resigned. ”The question is: what are you still doing here, in a job like this? A smart girl like you could go to university, be amongst people her own age, party, date, meet the love of her life.”

A quip was just waiting to leave her lips, but she paused. It wasn't like Artie or the others had never told her the same. She'd even applied for university and was working towards a graduation via the internet. And it wasn't like she never thought the same but she never quite felt like she could say so openly, scared that the others might try to push her harder. But Jack wasn't one of the others. ”Maybe I can't. Not after what I've seen here.” She sighed. ”I could never leave. This is family. They did more for me than anyone else. I lived on the street, they got me out, gave me a room, gave me a job … gave me back my brother. This job is mad sometimes, but it's worth it.”

”Worth the nightmares?”

”I have plenty of those without this job. What's a few more?”

Jack took a breath and turned to look at her abruptly, but then he paused, frowned, shook his head.

”What?” Claudia asked. ”Have I got something on my face?”

”I would recruit you from the spot if you weren't taken already.”

Claudia raised her eyebrows. ”In need of a computer genius, are you?” Jack's smile dimmed and Claudia realized that she must have hit a nerve. ”Sorry.”

”Don't worry about it. We recently lost two people.”

”One of them being your computer genius?” Claudia closed her eyes. ”Artie always tells me it would be better for me to talk less and think more sometimes.” She felt him cup her cheek and opened her eyes.

”I disagree,” he said. Something beeped and Jack pulled back his sleeve to look at a leather wristband. He flipped open the cover and checked a small screen installed inside.

Fascinated, Claudia leaned closer to have a look. ”What's that?”

”A nice piece of technology. I'm using it to try and figure out what we can do to get back home.”

”Any solutions?”

Jack sighed. ”Not yet.”

***

The Bed & Breakfast made Ianto feel at home. It had that British flair to it that reminded him of his grandmother's house – all dark wooden furniture and plush chairs and sofas, flowers on little tables and lamps in every corner. Ianto sat at the big round table they'd had dinner at in the lounge, once again reading the files they had on the horns. In the end, he'd decided against bringing them. The danger of them activating again when touched was too big. And he didn't know what tests to do on them anyway – Tosh had pretty much covered everything there was to cover already.

The cool night air flowed through the terrace door he'd opened and he closed his eyes in relief. He'd changed out of his suit and was wearing jeans and a t-shirt instead. He would probably stick with that since the temperatures didn't really compliment a suit. He wasn't used to the hot weather of summer in South Dakota, being a Welsh boy through and through. The house was quiet but Ianto doubted that he was the only one awake. Every once in the while, the wooden floorboards in the bedrooms upstairs would creak, accompanied by the quiet sounds of footsteps.

”Can't sleep?” someone asked and, startled, he turned his head to look at Myka, who was standing in the door, wearing training bottoms and a too-big shirt.
He sighed and admitted, ”No, not really.”

”I can understand that.” She sat next to him and leaned back in the chair. ”We'll get them back.”

”I know. I'm just worried.”

”Me too, but as far as we know, all that happened is that they're out of phase, right? All we have to do is bring them back into our dimension.”

”Yes, I'm just worried about the device's purpose. It's an entertainment device.” He looked at Myka. ”It's like a game show. What do we know about game shows?”

Myka's green eyes widened slightly and one of her fingers started to play with a lock of hair nervously. ”There's always an obstacle to overcome.”

”Yes. I doubt it's a quiz,” Ianto replied.

“What do you think it is?” Myka asked.

Ianto cleared his throat. “A Minotaur.” Myka frowned and Ianto shrugged. “You told us that Artie and Claudia were taken by a ball of string – Ariadne's thread – and our device is a statue – two horns.”

“The labyrinth of the Minotaur,” Myka said. “You think it's not a myth.”

Ianto nodded. “It was made out to be one after decades and centuries of seeing it happen, of listening to the stories of those who survived.”

“Seriously?” Myka asked.

Ianto shrugged. “I know that fairies have a grain of truth to them and I saw a demon once and people who materialized out of a roll of film … this isn't much crazier.” He rubbed his forehead. ”I hope they're up for it.”

”Artie's really good with this stuff.”

”Jack and Gwen, too, but things happen,” Ianto answered and looked at her. ”Things can always get out of hand.”



Chapter Eight
Ariadne's Thread Masterlist


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