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Ariadne's Thread 8/15

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 Seven
Ariadne's Thread Masterlist

***
***


8.



The Warehouse was unnoticeable and run-down from the outside, with rust already eating away at the walls and beams supporting a simple metal roof. From the outside, it seemed to be built into the mountain behind it, a forgotten building in the middle of the barren Badlands.

From the inside, it looked large enough to give Rhys the weird feeling that the mountain might have grown around it. Rhys barely had time to stare at the seemingly endless rows of shelves he could overlook from the balcony outside the comfortable office – not to mention take in the fact that there was a pyramid towering in the middle of the room and a Zeppelin floating above it (and was that the corner of a sports field of some kind he could see?) – before they gathered to make a battle plan.

Rhys felt a bit intimidated by the Warehouse agents. It was the same feeling he had around Jack and Ianto and sometimes even Gwen whenever he was at the Hub or helped them out in the field. Like everyone knew more than him, like he’d just joined a secret club and still had to read the handbook. It was Ianto, though, who inadvertently gave him a better feeling about it all. He had surprised him this morning by wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a denim jacket. Immediately, he looked ten years younger, more like the twenty-four he was supposed to be according to Gwen and more like the type of bloke Rhys felt comfortable around. His behaviour, though, was still strictly professional, speaking for both him and Rhys and Rhys was glad that everyone hurried through breakfast, eager to start working on the problem at hand.

“Okay,” Myka said when everyone assembled in the office again, ”yesterday, I started a search for artefacts that could help us get them back. It ran through the night but as it turned out, we only have a small amount of artefacts that potentially could maybe counteract the effect.” She handed copies of the list around. ”I suggest we go and check them out.”

Rhys looked at the frighteningly short list. The names and incomprehensible abbreviations confused him and the list didn’t explain what the artefacts could do. Before he was able to ask, though, Steve said, ”Artie wouldn't be very happy about us using artefacts.”

Pete was already busy folding the list as small as possible. ”I think he's even unhappier about his current situation.”

Myka had turned to a map on one wall Rhys hadn’t noticed before. As cluttered as the office was, he wasn’t surprised. It had to be a map of the Warehouse from a bird’s point of view. The way the shelves were aligned made more sense now. The colours and abbreviations, though, didn’t. Noticing the way Myka compared the list to the map, Rhys understood that Myka was looking up the storage places of the artefacts. Finally, she turned around to them. ”Right, we're six people and there are four artefacts to check out. Pete and I will go and look up Morey Amsterdam's Hat and Max Tegmark's Glasses since they’re pretty close together. Ianto and Steve, how about you take the original copy of Edwin Abott's Flatland? Leena and Rhys, you can see if Larry Butler's Academy Award could help us.” She pointed at the map while she was speaking and while the Warehouse Agents nodded in understanding, Rhys started to fear that he would get lost. The fact that Leena would be with him was comforting.

Steve cleared his throat. ”I don’t want to rock the boat here but we can just look up the abilities of the artefacts on the computer, can’t we?”

Myka pursed her lips. ”The computer gave us a list of sixteen artefacts, four of which aren’t documented very well. There were several agents who didn’t take the paperwork very seriously. So, fourteen of the artefacts can’t help us, I already checked. The other four came in with a shipment from Warehouse 12 and whoever was in charge missed doing more than accounting for their presence. We don’t have a hard copy file on them and we don’t have digital files, just the confirmation that they’re here, a short description and common sense that tells us the people they belonged to could have given them helpful properties for this situation.”

Pete raised his eyebrows. ”Whose common sense?” He pointed at Myka as if giving the answer already.

Myka shot him an annoyed look. ”Mine.”

”So,” Ianto interrupted the start of a bickering, frowning, ”you hope that there’s some sort of description with the artefact?”

Myka nodded. ”Other artefacts from Warehouse 12 have index cards with them describing their properties. I hope these four have them as well.”

Leena nodded. ”Bring them with you when you come back here so I can log them into the system properly.”

Ianto seemed put off and slightly irritated but the others didn’t seem to notice. Rhys wondered what that said about his relationship to Ianto that he knew him well enough to read the signs. Ianto’s voice didn’t give his feelings away when he asked, ”Does this happen very often around here? The neglect of the database?”

”It happens,” Myka answered. “We only find out by coincidence.”

”Don’t take it personally,” Rhys said. ”He’s an archivist.”

Pete’s eyes widened. ”He’s, like, the perfect husband for Myka, the book store girl.”

”Shut up, Pete,” she said.

Rhys decided to come back to the matter at hand. One thing worried him. ”What if none of these … artefacts can help us?”

”We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

Rhys frowned. ”You have no idea, do you?”

The silence was answer enough.

***

Artie looked down the aisle that led down to the office. It looked awfully far away, like a hallway that stretched endlessly. ”So, that's the plan?” he asked and looked up at Jack who was towering next to him, his arms crossed determinedly. He looked like some kind of hero out of a movie. Artie didn't like him very much. Even Jack's plan sounded like something out of a movie. ”Run down there, hope to evade the Minotaur and somehow get up to the office to get to the string?”

Jack nodded. ”That's the plan.”

Artie glanced back over his shoulder towards Claudia and Gwen. Claudia looked pale and tired, sitting huddled against a shelf, and Gwen was walking up and down nervously.

”We don't have a lot of choices left,” Jack said and Artie realized that he'd followed his gaze. ”We're hungry, we're exhausted, it has to be today.”

”I know,” Artie said. ”The office, though ... we can't get up there, the stairs are missing.”

”We'll have to wing it,” Jack replied and smiled crookedly. ”I'm good at winging it.”

Artie crossed his arms and smiled as well. ”So am I.”

Jack glanced towards Gwen and Claudia again. ”Claudia's awfully young and this will get tough. Will she be able to handle it?”

”You wouldn't ask that, if you knew her better,” Artie answered. ”She'll have to … so she will.”

***

They found it on a shelf, approximately fifteen minutes of walking time away from the office. Ianto had looked around while following Steve, trusting him to find the way through the rows of shelves. They were accompanied by Trailer, Artie’s dog that seemed to have taken to Steve as an adopted owner as long as Artie was gone. The Warehouse was a very interesting place, Ianto had to admit that much. They’d passed by countless artefacts with very different abilities and Ianto’s mind was running a mile a minute to catch up with his eyes. Finally, Steve stopped and looked at an old, dusty book on a shelf. It looked pretty ordinary, the letters on the cover faded a bit and the pages yellowed by time.

“This is it,” Steve said and took the little index card that was lying next to it, also old and bearing handwritten notes. Ianto leaned closer to read over Steve’s shoulder.

Edwin Abott's Flatland: A Romance Of Many Dimensions. Original Version (1884)
Causes the reader to be able and see all dimensions


“That sounds encouraging,” Ianto said.

Steve made a thoughtful noise. ”I don't know about that.” He pointed at a warning scribbled at the bottom of the card.

Is suspected to trap the reader in other dimensions!

“Is suspected?” Ianto asked.

”Well, it's not like you can ask them, right?” Steve replied with a wry smile and a shrug.

”Right,” Ianto said and leaned against the shelf. ”So let's rule this one out.”

”Let's,” Steve agreed with a sigh. Ianto pushed away from the shelf and glanced at the camera standing there, then he realized that Steve was already on his way back towards the office, Trailer trotting after him dejectedly. Ianto wanted to follow him quickly but had to stop again when a cough caught him unexpectedly and wouldn’t let go. He squeezed his eyes shut and doubled over slightly to try and stifle the cough but it didn’t work. He felt a hand on his shoulder and heard Steve ask, ”Everything alright?”

The coughing subsided, but his throat still felt strangely sore. ”I don't know,” Ianto answered and frowned. He swallowed, feeling a new bout of coughing approach. ”My throat's a bit sore, I guess.” He coughed again.

”Sore? All of a sudden?” Steve asked.

Ianto started to feel dizzy and swayed. Steve steadied him and leaned him against the shelf. Ianto frowned when he heard someone scream. ”What was that?”

”What was what?”

”A scream. There was a scream.”

He couldn't hear Steve's answer because the scream got louder and there was more than one person screaming now and he felt hot. Very hot. And then his blood froze when he heard the unmistakable sound of metal boots on the floor – rhythmic, coming closer, an army of ghosts turned Cybermen intending to find him, strap him down and remove everything human about him. He whimpered and crouched down, huddling against the shelf behind him, making himself as small a target as possible.

He heard someone yell his name and then he was forced to look into the face of someone he couldn’t quite recognize, because the smoke of the fires was burning his eyes, tearing them up. But it was Steve, he realized. Steve … shouldn’t even be here.

And suddenly, he wasn't cowering in Torchwood Tower any more, but standing in a living room. A man was standing in front of a couch where a woman was huddled, crying.

In the door, there was a boy with shaggy blonde hair who couldn't be older than fourteen. ”What's wrong?” he asked. Something was familiar about him.

”Steve,” the man said and Ianto realized that the boy indeed was Steve many years ago. He wondered if he was reliving an actual memory. He tried to move, tried to talk but he couldn’t. It was like he was trapped in a mould, forced to stay exactly as he was. The man stared at Steve and swallowed. ”It's your sister,” he said. ”Something happened and ...” He paused and the woman – Steve's mother, Ianto thought – sobbed. ”She's dead,” Steve's father whispered.



Chapter Nine
Ariadne's Thread Masterlist


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