?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Ariadne's Thread 10/15

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 Nine
Ariadne's Thread Masterlist

***
***


10.



“Damn!” Myka cursed and hurried to the neutraliser pump just around the corner while Pete stared at Ianto and Steve, standing frozen in the middle of the aisle. A camera in the shelf was running, the clicking of it taking pictures loud in the otherwise quiet part of the Warehouse. Trailer barked and nipped at Pete’s hand impatiently. He was the one who’d brought Myka and Pete here, alerting them that something wasn’t right. Myka reappeared with a hose and Pete took it from her, pointing it at the camera while Myka ran back to the pump and activated it. Purple goo shot out of the nozzle and the camera was quickly drowned in it. It emitted bright sparks, causing Pete and Myka to turn away, and then Steve and Ianto both let out a scream and jumped away from each other.

”Oh my God,” Steve muttered and sank to the floor. ”Oh, God!” Trailer whimpered and licked his face. Steve grabbed his collar and pushed him away gently. Pete saw his hands shake and he looked ready to get sick.

Ianto put a hand over his mouth and turned away.

A bit breathless from their run here, Myka asked, ”Are you alright?”

They looked at her, not answering. Myka’s eyes widened and she nodded. ”Right.” She looked at the still dripping camera in the shelf. ”Gerda Taro's camera.”

Pete thought that it looked slightly old-fashioned, like something out of the beginning of last century. ”What does it do?”

”When somebody looks into its lens, they relive all traumatic experiences in their lives. If somebody else then looks into their eyes, they relive each other's traumatic experiences.”

Pete swallowed. Now he understood why Ianto and Steve seemed so utterly shaken. ”Only traumatic?”

”She was a war photographer,” Myka explained and Pete nodded in understanding.

Ianto sighed and turned back around to them, closing his eyes. ”It was my fault. I looked into its lens. I thought artefacts only activated by touch.”

”Most of them do,” Myka replied. ”It's okay, you couldn't have known.”

Pete frowned, watching Steve still cowering on the floor. He wasn’t sure but he thought he saw tears in his eyes. ”Steve?”

Ianto answered instead. ”Yeah. I have some pretty bad memories. Sorry about that.”

Myka looked at him questioningly but Ianto ignored her.

He crouched in front of Steve who was getting his breathing back under control. ”Sorry.”

***

Jack’s plan sounded simple enough. Artie wasn’t quite so sure if it would be so easy, though. Things like that sometimes were unpredictable, really, but it was the only plan they had. ”These cracks appear at regular intervals, but in different parts of the Warehouse,” Jack said, studying his wristband. ”They emit energy. Will the Warehouse systems alarm the others of that?”

Artie grimaced. ”I’m not sure. If what you say is true and the artefact is alien, the sensors might just not react to the energy readings.”

Claudia put her hands on her hips. ”But we’ve got motion sensors and they’re good. I know because I just upgraded them. They’re modified to give off an alarm every time someone the system doesn’t recognize moves outside of the office.”

”Just at night,” Artie corrected.

”No, always.” She looked at Artie with her eyebrows raised. ”I just said, I upgraded them.”

Despite trying to remain calm, Artie couldn’t help but ask, ”How come I didn’t know about this?”

”That’s because I’m not done with it. Me and Steve are the only ones getting the alerts and I’m still doing some test runs. Right now, the alarms are sent to our cells as texts.”

Artie stared at her. ”You didn’t clear that with me.”

”Would you have said yes?”

”No.”

Claudia’s face darkened. ”You never do. I always have to force you to accept changes and that only works if I present a working prototype.”

Artie was getting really irritated now. ”The system is just fine. Why do you have that constant need to tinker with what took me years to establish?”

”Because we needed an update. McPherson, HG Wells … do I need to say more?”

Gwen cleared her throat and raised her hands placatingly. ”I think we’re getting a bit off topic here.”

Claudia bit her lip and ducked her head. Artie sighed. ”Right.” God, he was hungry. And that was making him snappy.

Claudia looked up at them again. She didn’t look appeased at all but she didn’t try to argue further. ”Steve gets a text whenever someone the face recognition software can’t recognize is moving around the Warehouse.”

Jack frowned. ”Yes, but that system can’t predetermine a crack and they last only seconds. By the time they reach us, we will be gone again.”

Artie knew what Claudia was thinking about when he saw her thoughtful face. ”They’ve got the Durational Spectrometer. It enables them to see what happened in the last six hours. They can use that to see us.”

”But they can’t hear us,” Jack said.

Artie frowned at him. Playing devil’s advocate seemed to be a kind of hobby for the Captain. Claudia spared him finding a suitably sarcastic answer by saying, ”Pete reads lips.”

Jack nodded, seemingly satisfied. ”Well, that’s our plan then. We go to the cracks my Manipulator indicates. It would be best to split up. We can cover more ground that way. Gwen and I are on the comms and they work in here, so we can stay in contact.”

”It’s a shame I can’t just call Steve,” Claudia said.

”Yeah, but transdimensional communication is too complicated for a normal mobile. We’re lucky our comms work in here.” He looked down at his wristband. ”My Manipulator indicates that there are currently two points in this room that are weak enough to cause cracks. Gwen, you take Claudia. Artie and I will take the other way.”

Artie saw Claudia glance at him and nodded his consent. Somehow, it meant a lot to him right now that she still looked at him as her boss, even though the way she was standing there with her arms crossed and a pout on her face indicated that there’d be hell to pay later. Experience taught him that she wouldn’t talk to him for a few days probably. The way he felt now, that was actually quite a nice thought. It was hard to get it through Claudia’s head sometimes that he was just worried. She’d played around with Warehouse technology from the first day she’d started working here and more than once, she’d paid the price with small injuries or embarrassing situations. It was a wonder nothing worse had happened and Artie would gladly keep it that way. But Claudia was headstrong, highly intelligent, independent and young and that was a dangerous combination. And Artie felt responsible for her, not just because her brother expected him to keep her safe but also because she’d grown on him, as weird as that was.

Jack let Gwen take a look at his Manipulator, probably showing her the way to one of the cracks and then said, ”I’m going to direct you to the next one.”

Gwen nodded and Jack put a hand on the small of her back, leaning down to whisper something to her. Gwen nodded again and answered, ”You too.”

Artie looked at Claudia with a weak smile and got a hesitant one in return, then they parted ways.

”So,” Artie said when they started to walk towards their spot. He trusted Jack, who was looking at his Mainpulator and making seemingly random turns along their way, to take the lead. ”What exactly will happen after we gave them the code word?”

”It's not a code word,” Jack answered.

”'Lucifers' sounds like a code word.”

Jack smiled wryly. ”A little while ago, we had trouble with alien lucifers that banned people into an alternate dimension similar to this one. Only that dimension was designed to be Hell. When you got trapped there, bad things happened. The worst things that could happen and then you were trapped until you were dead.”

”What kind of things?”

”It depended on the person. When I got trapped, I was told that two of my friends were dead, I shot Gwen and … things happened between me and Ianto. In the end, they got me out. Or rather, Ianto did by forgiving me for my sins. We don't know what exactly caused the lucifers to let me go and maybe we will never know. Fact is that Ianto's way to get me out wasn't planned. Originally, our technician Toshiko wrote a computer program to pull me back. I'm hoping that Ianto can use it to get us back home.”

”I guess that Toshiko is one the friends who died.”

Jack paused. ”Yes.”

Artie nodded solemnly. ”I'm sorry.”

”It's not your fault.” Jack’s face was a mask Artie recognized only all too well. He carried it often enough.

”I know how it feels, losing people. I'm scared for my agents all the time. I know they're adults and can handle themselves but still ...”

”You feel responsible,” Jack finished the sentence.

”Yes, even for their private life. I mean, Pete and Myka, they could do with a life away from the Warehouse. And Claudia and Steve are young – they should be out at parties every night, chasing boys and having fun. Instead, they deal with all this. At the same time, I'm glad they're here.”

”It took Gwen a long time to find out where her priorities should be. Having a normal life away from Torchwood isn't easy but her husband can handle it. I guess it's good that he knows what she does for a living,” Jack explained. “I feel guilty because of Ianto sometimes. If he's not at work, he's with me and I'm always on duty. It's … hard.” He shook his head with a smile. ”I tried to send them away, though, and they wouldn't budge. It's their decision in the end.”

Artie nodded gravely. ”Yes, it is.”

***

Ianto rubbed the iron banister separating the balcony outside the office from the vast Warehouse. The metal warmed under his touch but it couldn't chase away the feeling of coldness and dread in his stomach. He stared at the rows of shelves, trying to find a way, fishing for an idea, and he was sure that there was something lurking in the back of his mind, he just didn't know what it was.

”I'm so sorry,” somebody said behind him and he turned around to see Steve at the door to the office, hands in his jeans pockets and shoulders pulled up.

Ianto frowned. ”What for?”

Steve smiled helplessly. ”I don't even know where to start. Lisa, Torchwood One, cannibals … Toshiko and Owen. I honestly don't know. There's just too much.” He leaned against the banister next to Ianto, staring out across the Warehouse as well.

”It's just a glimpse,” Ianto said. ”All the bad things that happened. There were plenty of good things as well.”

”Are there?”

”You must know,” Ianto answered, looking at him searchingly. ”You lost your sister, you had bad experiences because of your sexuality, but there must have been good times as well. Boyfriends, friends, promotions ...”

”I didn't really have a boyfriend. Just, you know, a date here and there, some short flings ...” He shrugged. ”Anything permanent was a risk of being found out. Some of my colleagues were homophobic and they didn't really like me because of my knack for being able to tell when somebody's lying, I just … was afraid to risk anything, I guess. My life doesn't have many bright spots.”

”You don't need many if they're really bright,” Ianto replied. ”At the moment, I have Gwen's friendship and Rhys's and I've got Jack. Everything else is kind of drowned out by Owen and Tosh's deaths. But those people give me enough brightness to go on.” He hesitated for a moment. ”And I don't think that Pete and Myka don't like you, by the way.”

Steve rolled his eyes. ”Man, you saw that too?”

”It's pulling you down at the moment, making you wonder if you've wasted a possible career at the ATF for this so, yes, I saw that, too.” He smiled. ”You know, I was kind of a loner in my team for a while. I blamed them but realized somewhere along the way that I was to blame as well because I closed myself off from them. I stopped and it got better.”

Steve sighed. ”You know, being able to tell when somebody lies makes you wary of people.”

”Maybe you should stop assuming the worst when you catch somebody lying, then.”

Steve looked at him and his blue eyes brightened. ”Maybe I should.” He pulled his mobile out of his pocket and glanced at it, then he snorted.

”What is it?” Ianto asked.

”Alarms. With you lot walking through the Warehouse, the face recognition software is getting agitated. 34 alarms.” He sighed. ”This could get annoying when we've got visitors. I should talk to Claudia about that.”

Ianto nodded, looking back to the Warehouse again. ”And you will.”

***

Gwen glanced at Claudia while they kept walking down the aisle. Her face was set into a frown, her posture tense, her hands balled to fists. Frustration was evident in her eyes. Gwen felt compelled to try and calm her down. ”Does this happen often?”

Claudia glanced at her and Gwen clarified, ”You and Artie fighting.”

”That wasn't a fight,” Claudia answered. ”That was just him being stubborn and not wanting anything to change.” She sighed. ”I do a lot, you know. It's like he doesn't even see it sometimes.”

”I'm sure he does,” Gwen answered.

Claudia shrugged but she relaxed a bit. ”I'm hungry,” she said.

”Yeah, me too. I don't think I ever went this long without at least a chocolate bar.”

”I did. Even longer sometimes,” Claudia replied softly. Gwen looked at her, surprised. Claudia shrugged. ”For a while there. But now I'm kind of used to Leena cooking or Pete and Artie always carrying food around.”

Gwen swallowed, ignoring the last part of Claudia's answer. ”What happened?”

Claudia looked at her and her expression told Gwen that she really didn't want to talk about it and that she wished she'd never mentioned it. ”Stuff,” she answered. ”Lived rough for a while.”

Gwen nodded, backing off. She hadn't seen many homeless kids in her time as a Police Constable, but there'd been some. She had difficulties banning the pictures from her head now that they'd been awoken.

”Look,” Claudia suddenly said and pointed down the aisle.

And there it was. A slight change, but it was there. It still looked like the same aisle, but the shelves were stacked high with all kinds of artefacts, crates and boxes, not just the identical crates that were typical for this dimension. It was like looking through a window and when Gwen narrowed her eyes and focussed she could see a slight turbulence in the air where the dimensions met.

”What do we do?” Claudia asked.

Gwen swallowed and stepped closer. She didn't dare touch the crack, having no idea what it would do. She looked back at Claudia. ”Well, your motion sensors must have picked me up by now, so I'll just … keep moving, I guess.” She started to wave.

Claudia stopped next to her. ”Well, then, let's get our message across.”



Chapter Eleven
Ariadne's Thread Masterlist