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Ariadne's Thread - Prologue

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.

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***


Prologue



Cardiff, Wales:

Entering the Torchwood Hub was like entering a different world. It always gave Gwen a thrill. Through the slightly shabby tourist office, down a dimly light corridor into a lift, and from there through the giant cogwheel door into the cavernous base stretching several levels and miles beneath Roald Dahl Plass. Gwen had spent all her life in and around Cardiff but she'd never even dreamed of a secret base beneath the Bay. Even after about two years working for Torchwood, she was still in awe. And today, she could once again share that awe with Rhys. They stood there, taking in the main Hub with the working stations, the corridors veering off into other parts of the base and – most of all – the sculpture towering in the middle of the room, stretching up towards the Plass and emerging there as a well-known landmark. Today, water was trickling down the mirrored surface, splashing into the basin that was bridged by several metal grating walkways.

Gwen loved this place. She knew that she'd been born to work here. Nevertheless, the shadows seemed just a bit darker these days, the absence of anyone in the main room just a bit more noticeable. It had only been days since they'd lost Tosh and Owen, since a team of five – tight like family – had been reduced to a team of three. Gwen squeezed Rhys's hand a little tighter, seeking reassurance.

He smiled at her, his blue eyes showing that he understood. He'd barely known Tosh and Owen but still, their loss seemed to have cut deep for him as well. He looked around again. ”How old is this place anyway?” he asked, taking in the walls that were a wild collage of tiles, brick stone and concrete.

”Victorian times,” Gwen answered, ”give or take a few years. Torchwood was founded 1879.”

Rhys rolled his eyes. ”Alright. Your job is cooler than mine.”

Gwen grinned and kissed him. ”And don't you forget it.”

He pulled her closer and Gwen put her arms around his neck, looking at him. Meeting him really had been one of the best things that had ever happened to her. He'd stood by her through everything, especially regarding Torchwood: late nights, secret missions, his accidental discovery of what her job really entailed … and he'd stayed. He'd even married her. And now, he wasn't just a rock in her private life, someone to come home to when hunting aliens and fighting threats against Earth became too much to bear … he was becoming a support in her job as well. If she hadn't had him after the bombs had gone off a few days ago, after Tosh and Owen had saved the city and paid the price … she didn't know if she would have made it through.

They kissed again, deeper this time, until they were interrupted by a loud voice booming through the room, ”What's this? 'Bring your husband to work' day?”

They looked up towards the first level, where Jack Harkness was leaning on the railing of the walkway between the hothouse and the now darkened room that used to be Owen's lab. Out of the corner of her eye, Gwen noticed that Rhys straightened and puffed out his chest a little. A reaction she was used to and chose to ignore. Even though they were married, Jack with his good looks and natural charisma intimidated Rhys to no end. Jack straightened and crossed his arms over his blue dress shirt, taking on his well-known 'boss pose'. Gwen noticed that his braces were hanging down his hips and raised an eyebrow. ”Did we interrupt something?”

Jack shook his head. ”Not that I know of. Ianto?”

Gwen now noticed movement in the kitchen niche near the basin, and then Ianto stepped forward, craning his neck around to look up at Jack. ”Jack?”

”Did they interrupt something?”

Ianto straightened his always immaculate suit and shook his head. ”No.” He looked at Gwen and his boyish face showed a small grin. ”You might have, though, if you'd turned up half an hour earlier.”

Gwen smiled and shook her head. ”I don't even want to know.”

Jack leered at Ianto. ”Naked hide and seek. Always fun.” Then he clapped his hands. ”But now that you're here,” he pulled up his braces, settling them on his broad shoulders, ”let's start working.” He came down the winding stairs.

Gwen took Rhys's hand. ”Boardroom?”

”Yes. Ianto bought breakfast.”

Gwen pulled Rhys towards the corridor leading down to the boardroom but she couldn't resist a last peek back. She caught Jack lean in and plant a gentle kiss on Ianto's lips, whispering something. Ianto smiled up at him and nodded, entwining his fingers with Jack's for a moment. The two of them seemed to have become closer. Gwen was happy for them but she sometimes wondered about the price Jack would pay for that when Ianto would die. And he would, just like Gwen. Torchwood Agents didn't grow old. The job just didn't allow it. Jack was only still here because he wouldn't stay dead. Sometimes, Gwen knew, he saw that as a blessing. Other times, he'd confided, he felt it was a curse, because he would lose them one day. Like so many others before.

***

Univille, South Dakota (USA):

Steve Jinks sighed tiredly and turned off the engine of his car. Leena's Bed & Breakfast now provided the only light: porch lamps that dipped the rural house into a soft glow. The house was a picture perfect getaway for clichéd romantic trips but there weren't a lot of those happening in the wasteland of South Dakota, so Steve and his colleagues were the only ones living there. Normally, it represented the end of a stressful day and some peace and quiet – things Steve had quickly learned to appreciate after he'd started his job at Warehouse 13 just a few weeks ago – but this night, it loomed over him threateningly.

He sighed again – this time it was a sound of frustration. It felt right coming back here, calling this place home, but … he shook his head. So his self-confidence had taken a bit of a blow lately. He knew he shouldn't take the jokes the team threw his way so personally. He was the newbie, it was only natural for them to need some time to get used to him. Nevertheless … he wished he would have less of a problem fitting in.

The Warehouse was a dream job come true. He was doing something special, chasing down dangerous artefacts and storing them in a facility where they couldn't harm anyone. The supernatural was his day job – pens that made true what you wrote down with them, a telegraph that made people go mad with paranoia, a kettle that fulfilled every wish you made (and those it couldn't fulfil at least gave you a consolation prize: a ferret). His life was straight out of a television show and yet, he wasn't entirely happy. He felt like an outsider sometimes. It wasn't a new feeling. Being able to tell when people lied was a curse, really. He was always scared to realize that they were just humouring him or letting him tag along because they had to. At least with Pete and Myka, he felt that way. Artie was generally a loner himself. Claudia was the only friend he had on the team at the moment but she was friends with Pete and Myka, too, and since that very strange day when those two had frozen and bronzed him for a little while, Steve couldn't quite say what they thought of him. Sure, they'd been under the influence of an artefact that made them drunk but he couldn't help but feel that the artefact had only lowered their inhibitions to a point where they'd acted on their feelings for him.

He shook his head and got out of the car. It was no use to dwell on it. He would just have to suck it up and wait for them to get used to him. It had been the same at the ATF and he'd survived. He hadn't had any friends there … but he'd survived. He would be fine.

He unlocked the front door and slid it shut softly. It was almost two in the morning and everybody would be asleep in their rooms. Driving through Univille had felt strange. Being a very small town in the middle of nowhere, nobody had been out on the main street that led through it, the houses and shops had been dark, even the street lamps switched off. Steve had felt like he was driving through a ghost town.

The B&B was quiet and dark. Steve let his memory lead him towards the wide stairwell leading to the rooms upstairs.

Suddenly, a lamp was switched on and he blinked, momentarily blinded, before he saw Claudia sitting in one of the comfy armchairs adorning the entrance hall, wearing a fluffy white bathrobe provided by the B&B. She raised one eyebrow. ”And where are you coming from, young man?”

”Young man?” Steve echoed with a snort. He was older than Claudia, not by much, but still.

She just raised the other eyebrow as well. ”It's way past your bedtime.”

”It's way past yours as well.”

She got up and pushed her hands into the bathrobe's pockets. When she stepped closer, Steve could see that beneath the teasing tone of her voice, there was worry simmering in her green eyes. ”Where've you been?”

”Out.”

”Painting the town red?”

”You could say that.”

”Are we talking about Univille?”

Steve snorted again and pushed his hands in his jeans pockets. ”Univille's got one street, Claudia. There's one bar and it closes at ten. And it's not exactly the kind of place I hang out at when I go out.”

Claudia's eyes widened. ”Were you in a gay bar? Why couldn't I come with you?” She looked put out and on the verge of a pout.

Steve rolled his eyes. ”I needed to go alone.”

”Where've you been then? We're in the middle of nowhere.”

”Rapid City.”

”That's over an hour away.”

”Believe me, it wasn't worth it.”

”That's 'cause you didn't take me with you.”

“Drop it.”

The pout emerged full force. ”Alright. Now that I'm not worried to death for you, I can go catch some zee's.”

”You do that.”

She started up the stairs, turned around once more. ”Next time, leave a note.”

”Yes, mom.”

She grinned at him and he caught himself smiling back. Then he headed upstairs himself.



Chapter One
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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
withywindle01
Apr. 21st, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
Oooo...a long one! Wondered what you'd been up to. This looks really good!
jolinarjackson
Apr. 22nd, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )