Author's note is at the end.
"Left here!" Sherlock shouted. Instinctively, Jack twisted the wheel to the left, and they went skidding down a short alleyway.
"Holmes, what are you-"
"There is no time! Get out! Quickly, before they go by!"
The four men leapt out of the SUV. On one side, Sherlock and Ianto jumped down and chased a fleeing weevil down the alley, managing to capture it and spray it with only a minor scratch to Ianto's forearm. Unfortunately, the SUV had pulled in directly between the two creatures, and when John and Jack jumped out they were greeted by a terrified weevil charging directly towards them. John, always the quick draw, got it full in the face with weevil-repellent, but not before it got a good swipe in at Jack's throat.
Jack fell to the ground unceremoniously on top of the weevil. John, fear stirring in his stomach and mixing uncomfortably with the adrenaline (because he was a doctor, and he knew how little chance Jack had of surviving that shot), made to bend down and help the Captain, but his knee had rather abruptly gone stiff as a board.
Ianto and Sherlock came running around the boot of the van, their exhilarated grins swiftly dropping off their faces.
"Damn it. Not again." Ianto said, which seemed to John to be a rather callous reaction to the death of your partner. And it certainly was death; there was no mistaking it now. Even someone not trained as a doctor couldn't have mistaken that blow as anything other than fatal.
So why was he not particularly surprised when Captain Jack all of a sudden came gasping to life? It was a rare day that could start with a pterodactyl flying at one's head, and still manage to become more bizarre with every turn. If the Queen turned up at 221B that night in her nightie, John didn't think he would have the energy to be shocked.
"You died. You were definitely dead. You died, but you're not dead now?" John asked, acutely aware of how stupid he must sound.
"You've got the gist of it, yeah." Jack said, hopping to his feet. "Damn, I hate it when I get blood on my coat. This thing is a pain to dry clean."
"Like you'd know." Ianto retorted, and then he shook his head. "Not important. Jack, we didn't tell them rule number one!"
"Rule number one?" Sherlock asked, apparently not phased by the death and subsequent resurrection of their new friend.
"Don't try and save me." Jack said, and there was a certain weariness in his voice that made him seem quite a bit older than he looked. "Don't risk your lives for mine. Even if it's something like you breaking your arm versus me dying. Because, I can die. And I do, quite a lot. It just never seems to stick."
John looked from Jack to Ianto to Sherlock, trying to see if they were having him on.
"Right." he sighed. "Let's see that, then." he said, gesturing towards Ianto's forearm. "Don't want that getting infected."
"How did you know where to find the weevils?" Jack asked Sherlock, as John retrieved his computer bag from the vehicle and pulled out a frankly impressive amount of medical supplies. "We'd have lost them, if it wasn't for you."
"It wasn't that difficult." Sherlock replied, watching John swabbing Ianto's cut. "I merely calculated their average speed from Miss Sato's screens, and then calculated their probably trajectory based on my mental map of Cardiff. It would have been less dangerous to head them off at the end of this street, but if we had delayed further I calculated a 72.4 percent chance of possible civilian injuries."
Jack nodded. "Impressive."
"It is, isn't it?"
John rolled his eyes. "Mr. Modesty, that's you."
"John, what is the point of modesty? It is in everyone's best interests to know the exact extent of other's skills. Would it help to solve crimes if I pretended to be as dull as the rest of you?"
"I don't suppose the two of you would consider joining Torchwood?" Jack suggested. "Although not to replace Owen. I get the feeling I'll be stuck with him for far too long."
"No, thank you." John said firmly. "Not that it's not tempting, but we like London. And I don't fancy joining up with a bunch of murderers, if your suspicions about the London branch are accurate."
"In fact, we're supposed to be leaving for London in, oh, fifteen and a half minutes." Sherlock said.
John checked his phone, and swore. "We're going to be late for our meeting with Dimmock!"
"We would offer you a ride, but we've got to deal with these two." Ianto said, gesturing to the weevil lying ignored at their feet.
"Not to worry. I know a shortcut." Sherlock said.
"Of course you do." John said good-naturedly. He made to put his phone away, but stopped. "Here, Ianto, d'you want my cell number?"
"Already got it, I'm afraid." Ianto replied. "Scanned your phone when you got in the Hub. It's a routine procedure, nothing personal."
"Of course you did! You wouldn't happen to know a woman named Anthea, would you?"
"John, that's not her real name." Sherlock called from the corner. "Do hurry up!"
"I'd better go." John said, already backing away. "We'll have to talk sometime, though. Have tea, or something. Text me!" He turned, and dashed away after Sherlock.
"Sir," Ianto began hesitantly, after they had loaded up the weevils, and were on their way back to the Hub. "When John and Sherlock introduced themselves, right after you turned up, you gave them an odd look. Do you remember why?"
"Ianto, I was behind you. How the hell do you know what kind of look I was giving anyone?"
"John asked me about it. I told him I hadn't a clue."
"Ah. Well… I don't really remember. Sorry."
"Pull the other one, Jack."
"No! I, uh-"
"I will spend my nights at my flat for two weeks if you don't tell me."
Jack winced. "You play hardball. Actually, speaking of hardball, there was this guy I met from Betelgeuse one time, did I ever tell you about-"
"Okay, okay. But I need you to promise this never goes beyond the walls of this SUV."
Intriged, Ianto nodded. "'Course."
"Right. So, when I was a kid, there were these fairytales my mom used to tell me every night 'fore I went to sleep. They were brilliant detective stories; me and my friends would run around pretending to be the great detective and his best friend. And they were all set around the end of the second millennium, beginning of the first."
Ianto opened his mouth to speak, and then let it hang there. He hadn't been expecting that. "You mean-"
"That's right. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and Doctor John Watson. Three thousand years and we still remembered their names perfectly. But when I was a teenager, my mom explained to me how they were just fairytales. One of the last things she ever told me, actually. She explained that they couldn't be true, because most of the things they did were impossibly anachronistic. How could two men in the twenty first century get their hands on gear that hadn't been invented until the early 4500's?"
"Do you mean like the weapons scanner Sherlock pocketed?"
"Oh good, so you noticed too."
"He wasn't exactly subtle about it. But you didn't say anything, so I figured…"
"Yeah, they're going to need it. It saves John's life, actually, if my memory serves."
"It's a good job we didn't notice them take it, then."
Jack laughed. "Yeah, that is lucky, isn't it? But anyways, I was convinced that it was all just made up. Until I joined the time agency. When I got there, they made me learn a whole lot of history. And apparently, the time agency started in the early third millennium. It was originally a project started by-"
"Sherlock Holmes and John Watson?"
"Exactly!" Jack said, hitting the steering wheel for emphasis, and almost steering them into the incoming lane. An old lady in a sports car gestured rudely at them. "But not just them! See, in the stories my mom told me, it wasn't always just Sherlock and John. They had people to help them, too. Like Mrs. H, their ninja landlady. But the main ones, the ones who were almost as big a part of the stories as John and Sherlock themselves, were a pair of Torchwood agents. Their names didn't survive three thousand years, though. But there was one known as 'I', who knew everything, and his partner 'J', who could tell the future."
"I and J? Are you saying- and J could tell the future?"
"Well, I have heard all the stories before. But I wonder. Would you be able to tell me the name of this society, started by Holmes and Watson and I and J, destined to one day become the time agency?"
Ianto's eyes widened. "The DA?"
Jack grinned. "Oh, it's great to be part of history, isn't it?"
Ianto leaned back into his seat. "Wow. I… just… wow. So what happens next?"
"Ianto, as a terrifying woman once told me, 'Spoilers, love'. I can't give away the ending when the story's only just started! But I do have one question."
"What does the DA stand for? I'm fairly sure it's not 'Dumbledore's Army.'"
"No, it's not."
"That's one of the great mysteries of time, you know. No one's been able to work it out back home."
"Jack… I can't tell you. You'll laugh at me."
"I promise I will not laugh."
Ianto told him. He laughed.
And that's all, folks! I don't know if I'll continue in this vein, but it's open. I really enjoyed this story, and it feels great to have finally finished a multiple-part story. Thank you all for reading, you're all wonderful people. I'm off to work on Realizations, and to listen to Still Got Legs. Cheers!