A/N: Apparently my Muse loves this idea. . . To those who have also read 'Zenku', don't worry I'm working on typing up another chapter. . . . I just really procrastinate in typing things up. And, if you need clarification on something in this chapter, tell me. I also noticed that I accidentally made Teddy – the child that was to be Teddy, anyway – a girl in the last chapter. Oh, well.
Warnings: Mentions of child abuse, cursing/cussing/bad words, OOCness, etc
Suggested songs: Abraham's Daughter by Arcade Fire and Castle of Glass by Linkin Park
And. . . Let's go!
– Somewhere in Wales – Set in Episode Six: 'Countrycide' –
Jaq pulled map from her pocket, examining it carefully. Glad I expanded my pockets, she mused faintly, storing the map back where it belonged and took off with a flutter of black wings. She wasn't the best with most modern technology – the kind run on electricity – due mainly to its susceptibility to the EMP-like force magic exerted on it, but she knew enough from Tosh to be able to track things. When Jaq had realized the Torchwood SUV and the Team were miles away from each other, she almost immediately took off to assist her friends. Her decision was further reinforced when, about a half hour after she left the Hub, Gwen's alert went off.
Shows I was right to put that on the Team, Jaq thought to herself. The charm she had put on her friends was one parents commonly put on their children to alert them if the children were hurt or killed. It really did aggravate her that she couldn't make Portkeys or use Apparition to a reliable degree. If she could make Portkeys, she could have made a reverse one to just take her to the Team, but no. Bloody Magic. Dunno why it has to be so stubborn, she thought mutinously, keeping an eye on the countryside.
It hurt, though the witch was reluctant to admit it even to herself, that the Torchwood Team had left her behind. Jaq was the most experienced in war of them, except, maybe, for Jack. She knew how to fight, how to deal with death, how to deal death, how to help the wounded, how to aide those passing on, and a whole slew of things that one would expect of a full on veteran. That's why. You're their Jaq, they don't want you to have to go through it anymore, her mind whispered to her gently. She knew that was the real reason but it still hurt, damn it.
Not that any of that really mattered. As Ianto's own charms began to go off, Jaq reached the decision to not let them go out without her at least in a few minute's flight. They attract as much trouble as I do, she thought disgruntledly. A village came into sight, causing Jaq to shift into her Basilisk form – eyes closed, of course. She couldn't – wouldn't – risk harming her friends.
As soon as she caught the team's scent, Jaq slid up to a house, quiet as a mouse despite her size. Inside, she could hear her friends but could also smell Ianto and Gwen's blood. No one touches my friends. . . .
– Inside the House–
Ianto still held on to the hope that someone – Jack, most likely – would save him from the monsters wearing human skin, but that hope grew smaller and smaller as a butcher's cleaver was held to his throat. He didn't let them see his fear – his terror. On his knees, the only thing he could think of was the wellbeing of his Team, of Jack, Jaq, Tosh, Gwen, and even Owen, the snarky git. Oh, poor Jaq. . . Whatever else he was going to think was cut off as something huge crashed through the window, ripping the town leader off somehow simultaneously gently yet sparing the man no pain. Ianto was unharmed, except for the slight cut across his throat.
He looked at the creature in awe, wondering at the beast. What the hell was it, why did it help him – them? Gleaming metallic scales ranging from acid green to near-black emerald shone in the faint light. The beast's eyes were shut – which was odd, considering serpents didn't have eyelids – and it could take a quarter of a full grown human into its maw at once. The town leader was thrown into the crowd of shocked villagers, screaming in agony. Ianto couldn't help but wonder why he seemed to be over reacting to a minor would – the fangs had only pierced his shoulder, after all. It didn't appear to be worse than a bullet wound. Then he noticed smoke rising from said injury. Poison.
In less than a minute, the town leader was dead. As he had fallen dead, Jack – Dear old reliable Jack – came to the rescue. The mysterious serpent had curled around the captives when bullets started flying, deflecting the bullets almost soundlessly. Unconsciously, Ianto placed a palm on the hide of the huge serpent, wonder on his face. As fearsome as it was, he couldn't help but admire its beauty. The serpent turned to look at him, and the Torchwood agent suddenly recalled a bit of mythology: the Basilisk was typically depicted as a huge serpent. This was a huge serpent. Jaq could transform into a Basilisk. This was Jaq. What the hell was she doing here? How did she even get here?
Jack sighed, also gently patting Jaq's hide. "What are you doing here, Jackie?" the Captain asked, a weary tone in his voice. Before the team's incredulous eyes, the serpent seemed to almost melt into their Jaq.
"You lot managed to get into trouble," she said, rolling her eyes a bit and cocked her hip lazily. No blood was on her mouth, no sign that she had been the snake at all.
The witch went over to Ianto, ensuring he wasn't too badly hurt – although, the slice on his neck would scar – then checked over Gwen and Tosh. Everyone would be fine, and of those injured, only Ianto and Gwen would come out with a few scars.
"But how did you know we got into trouble?" Gwen asked, confused. The Welsh woman was still trying to come to terms with the fact that Jaq had killed someone – in front of them. Sure, she had known that Jaq had quite a few kills under her belt, so to speak, but it didn't sink in until she had actually killed something.
"I had a charm on all of you – in this line of work, I don't want any of you to die or get seriously injured," Jaq hesitantly explained. She hadn't told any of them about it when she had cast it.
"What sort of charm?" Tosh asked in curiosity.
"It's a status charm, to let the caster know the condition of the target. It's harmless," the witch assured.
"Tell that to the dead guy," Owen mumbled. Hurt flashed over Jaq's face, but she hid it quickly. The only person who caught it was Jack.
"Anyway! We should contact the proper authorities, shouldn't we?" Jaq chirruped, a false grin spreading over her lips. She was, Jack decided, entirely too good at falsifying emotions. If he wasn't used to the Doctor doing likewise, and with his past as a conman, he would have never noticed.
"Yeah. Owen, why don't you do that?" the Captain said, the gesture for Jaq and Ianto to follow him a little ways away. They complied.
"Ianto, you alright?" The jade-eyed man nodded.
"Only a few scrapes and bruises, sir," the Welshman said reassuringly. The Captain nodded, turning to Jaq. "I'm fine, wasn't injured at all," she hurried to say before he asked.
"You're not fine," he stated calmly, blue eyes locked with her startled emerald ones.
"You killed someone – first time in front of us. It hadn't sunk into them," Jack said softly, making the young woman look away.
"Hey, look at me," the older man gently turned her back towards him, "It's alright. Really." The witch shook off his hands, refusing to believe his words.
"I bring death with me, Jack. I always do!" she nearly spat out, "I should have found another way! That man didn't have to die. . ." Her voice became slightly quieter, "I'm tired of killing." When she had killed that man. . . . The witch had been in battle-mode – her people were in danger, she hadn't thought it through like she should have.
"Then try not to next time." What? Jaq looked up at the Captain in confusion. As if sensing her confusion, he elaborated, "Try not to kill next time."
She could do that. Yeah, she could. If she had no other choice, however. . . . She wouldn't risk her people. One chance, she decided. One chance from the first time Jaq meets them to prove themselves as people that don't have to be killed. If they spit on it – well, their fate would be on their own hands. The 'Angel of Death' made a mental note to clean her Basilisk's mouth out later, in private. Cannibals tasted disgusting.
–Post E6, Just previous to, and during, E7 ' Greeks Bearing Gifts'–
Jaq could tell, now, what made people tick, if she looked closely enough. For some, it was duty. Others, love. Loyalty. Ambition. Hatred. Every person, every villager she had felt in that forsaken village bar her team and that boy had been functioning on a gluttonous enjoyment of the hunt, of devouring thinking and fully sentient creatures. They had done what they did. . . because it made them happy.
The witch's killing of the man and the aftermath may have seemed casual, dismissive, at first glance. But, it wasn't. Killing for Jaq wasn't simple, wasn't casual. She opened herself to Gaea, wanting to have the death cleansed from her, so it would no longer taint Gaea's magic inside of her. Doing this opened her to the rest of those on Earth with such a piece of Gaea, although more safely then if Jaq had tried to connect without the help of her Mother.
Jaq's mind wasn't in the best of condition, thanks to the oh-so-helpful tutelage of Snape, and she only had enough skills to shield her mind and open it to everything around her. Her skills did not allow her to block only certain things out.
It was because of this that Jaq realized that Tosh was meddling with mind technology, even if the older woman hadn't intended to. Toshiko was a kind woman, someone not intended to hear the full depravity of an average Human's thoughts. Not many could handle it, at least of terrestrial origins.
Oddly, any of Jaq's attempted interferences tended to get sidetracked by Ianto, asking for assistance in archiving a few bits of alien tech; or Owen, wanting her to help feed the Weevils; even Jack, who found a new toy that was used by a highly telepathic-dependent species. By the time she was able to track down Tosh, the woman was already at this telepathic alien's mercy.
Her Basilisk was not amused by the threat to its nest – none of her counterparts were. The all wanted to rip, to tear, to kill this petty creature. The force of the emotions sent ripples of transformation over her body, flickering from silver feathers, to black feathers, to brilliant green scales, or brilliant gold orbs taking place of her Human green ones. Jaq did her best to keep her eyes non-lethal, looking to Jack for a cue. She didn't get one, aside from a Trust Me look. Easy enough to do.
As soon as that damn alien was 'ported away – who knew where, as Jaq quite frankly didn't give a fuck – the youngest woman darted forward, examining Tosh's faint wounds. She almost missed Jack saying he had dumped the alien into Sol's center.
"Good," she bit out viciously, holding Tosh tightly.
"H-How could you say that . . .?" the Asian woman sobbed. Right, Jaq realized. She got emotionally attached.
"Tosh, I'm sorry," Jaq said quietly, "I'm so sorry. She used you." Soft, gentle. The so-called Angel of Death knew how to comfort a hurt person. She has had a lot of experience, after all. The older woman finally gave in, sobbing into Jaq's shoulder hysterically. Most of the others were visibly uncomfortable with the scene. With a tilt of her head, the young lady indicated for them to leave. Owen hesitated, then passed his coat over, unsure of what to do. He and the rest of the team left the pair in peace.
–Previous to and During 'They Keep Killing Suzie'–
Jaq cracked her neck with a sigh, giving a tired look to Sergeant Williams. "What was I called here for?" she asked, irritated. It hadn't been very long since Mary, and she didn't want to leave Tosh alone for very long.
"Lieutenant. . . ." Williams looked around, gesturing her further from the nearby UNIT soldiers. "I know who you are, Miss Potter," the ash-blond finally said, giving her a sympathetic look. Jaq stiffened, her silver and green eyes narrowing dangerously.
"I won't tell anyone, I swear, but. . . You can talk to snakes, right?" Williams asked, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. The self-exiled witch sighed, pinching her nose bridge, wondering why her past wouldn't just leave her alone. She nodded, though.
"Anything with scales, usually, why?" Jaq asked. "There is an alien, seems to speak like a Komodo dragon," Williams explained, indicating the manhole. The witch crinkled her nose, but nodded. "Just follow the tags," the Sergeant called as she left him. Another nod and a sort-of wave was his reply.
–In the Sewers, During 'They Keep Killing Suzie'–
Jaq found the alien in question easily, using her Basilisk's instincts as well as her Phoenix's. Both disliked serpents crossing into their territory. She made a bit of stone protrude from the wall and settled down to wait for the alien to speak or do something.
"Stupid half-evolved family-killers," eventually slithered out of the darkness. Jaq hmmed quietly, nodding.
"They can be, if you provoke them," she replied with a small tilt to her head, "And sadly, you have. You're the one who has been killing Humans, correct?"
"You can speak." It was stated in the serpent version of surprise, an extra little 'hss' at the end. "I can," Jaq admitted plainly, "And I wish you hadn't attracted these idiots."
A feminine figure poked out of the shadows, tilting a scaled head at the witch in confusion, her hostility fading. Before anything could be said, a man in a bowtie bounded into view, too preoccupied with looking over his shoulder to notice Jaq in time.
Jaq stared up at the bow-tied man blankly, fighting the urge to curse loudly. "Oh! Hi. What are you doing below me?" She shoved him off of her, putting a hand to her ear.
"Williams! Who else did you send down here?" she bit out. There was a short silence, then a different man answered. A scowl made itself known.
"No one except the perimeter soldiers, Lieutenant, and you know that's the procedure when we call you in." Pope. She loathed Pope.
"Get your xenophobic arse off of my comms, Pope," Jaq growled angrily, "And would you kindly shoot yourself while you're at it?"
"You said they were idiots – but you're working with them!" the alien woman hissed, launching herself at Jaq. The younger female dodged, slamming the alien into the ground. "I'm trying to help you, you stupid creature!" she hissed back, wincing when the alien's tongue stung her wrist.
"Excuse me, but who exactly are you?" the bow-tied man queried quietly, "And what are you going to do to Restac?" Jaq frowned, looking at the man. "Is that her name?" she replied. The man nodded.
"I'm . . . To UNIT, I'm just a consultant known as the Lieutenant. I was going to help . . . Restac relocate to a safer location – away from UNIT," she admitted, looking down when the alien woman stopped struggling. There was an odd look of surprise on her face, but . . . "Can you understand English?" she asked.
"English? No. You were still Speaking," Restac said quietly. Jaq looked up at the man, finding him watching her curiously. "No. I'm not Speaking," she slowly stated.
"That's my doing," the bow-tied man said, holding out his hand with a grin, "I'm the Doctor, by the way." Jaq got off of Restac, shaking the Doctor's hand absent mindedly as she concentrated on the telepathic energy around her – ah, there. A thin thread of golden energy tied this man to a larger source further away, then was wrapped gently around the mind of Restac. Another thread was coiled around her own mind, but couldn't affect her due to her Occlumency shields.
"Ah, I see," Jaq said, nodding in understanding, giving the Doctor a faint smile. "Do you?" he replied, suddenly more serious.
"A telepathic connection that translates for you, yes?" she said with a shrug, "But, Doctor, what are you here for?" The man frowned slightly, but turned to Restac.
"Her. Restac, how did you get here?"
The scaled alien looked down slightly. "A man with sky-eyes came just after you left. Without a single word, he grabbed me and we landed here. He left immediately after that, vanishing in a flash of light." Sky-eyes? Blue eyes. The Doctor nodded once.
"Restac, I can take you somewhere safe," he said, holding out his hand. Jaq said nothing, looking between the two as they seemed to have a silent conversation. When the scaled alien turned to Jaq, she smiled without revealing her teeth.
"Don't worry," Jaq assured, "I'll tell them something."
Again, they were interrupted, though this time by a more liked person. "Lieutenant? Are you alright?" Jaq smiled again, faintly.
"Williams, I'm fine. There seems to be a situation with the poor alien though. It was lashing out at it was dying – that's all." The two people nearby seemed surprise, so she only cast a wink at them.
"Are. . . Is its remains recoverable?"
"Nope," Jaq stated, popping the 'p', "The remains must've had a disease or a chemical in them, making them biodegrade at an accelerated rate. It actually smells a bit like almonds." They gave her a nod in thanks, moving away, she only gave them a brief wave and smile.
"Now, Williams, can I go home?" the young woman asked, striding away from the duo she had assisted.
"Yes, ma'am," the Sergeant replied, "Thanks for the help."
"The comm'll be near the entrance." Without waiting for a reply, Jaq pulled up her Phoenix, stretching her wings gleefully. It had been too long since she Flamed anywhere, or even turned into her Phoenix. If anyone had been down in the sewers, they would have seen a swanlike bird with feathers the colour of silver, garnet, and sapphire vanish in a whoosh of blue and orange flames.
–The Hub, During 'They Keep Killing Suzie'–
Suzie Collins froze as a sudden sense of dread overcame her. Without knowing why, she slowly backed up. At the center of the Hub, a burst of fire appeared, making Gwen gasp in astonishment. The bird that appeared spotted Suzie and let out a horrible screech, one that made Gwen weep. Suzie herself cried out in pain, clutching her chest in agony.
"Don't make me go back!" Suzie shouted, her eyes widening even more when the bird's eyes turned almost pure silver, the red feathers darkening to a shade equivalent to non-oxygenated blood. "Please! Master! It's so cold there – you don't know what it's like!" Footsteps were pounding, but the angry Phoenix screeched again, causing one of those incoming to fall to their knees.
"Gwen!" The shout was distant, but echoed loudly. Jack. Suzie curse internally, screaming again when the damn bird screeched again.
"Don't make me go back there, please, you don't know how lonely it is, Master!" Suzie begged again. Instead of screeching, a foul hiss exited the 'Master's maw, causing just as much pain. Gwen sobbed in the background, one hand clutching at her heart, the other at her head.
"Gwen?!" Ianto, Owen, and Jack burst into the Hub. All three of the men froze at the sight of the hostile bird having a stare down with the sort-of-dead woman.
"I- I don't know what it is, Jack, I don't know why it's here," Gwen said, looking up at the trio in fear.
"Master! Don't do this to me! Please! I'm begging you!" Suzie screeched, interrupting whatever was going to be said. They all looked on in shock as an almost violet coloured light began to wrap around the resurrected woman, her body slowly being disintegrated.
"That is one pissed off chicken," Owen murmured, his eyes wide in astonishment.
When Suzie was finally gone – completely gone, no trace of her body at all – said 'chicken' landed clumsily on the floor, its eyes 'fading' into a well-known unearthly green. "Jackie?" Jack asked softly. A low trill came from the bird, nothing like the heart wrenching shrieks that had come out of the beautiful creature previously.
"Can you change back?" Even before the sentence had been finished, a Jaq was on her belly, her skin having a silver tint to it.
"What happened, Jaq?" Ianto asked, jogging over to the girl. Gwen couldn't help but feel a little hollow as they swarmed around Jaq. Even Toshiko, when she finally arrived, gave the Welshwoman a glance, then went straight to the ill-looking child.
"'M fine, honest," the young woman insisted, "Just a bit tired. It costs a lot of energy to break a connection like that." She shouldn't have said that. It got them thinking.
"S-She called you 'Master'," Ianto hesitantly said. "The Pixies did, too," Jack stated.
Jaq scowled at them. "It only represents the fact that I'm the 'master' over a few magical objects. Most creatures in tune with Gaea – including the dead – can sense their power."
"So. . . Not a kink?" Jack asked, breaking the tension. Everybody laughed. Jaq's eyes found Gwen, and the brightness in those orbs made the Welshwoman smile, feeling like maybe. . . Maybe Jaq was the glue that held them together. She made them a family, not just a team, not just an organization. An actual family. Never had a family before. This . . . This could be interesting, Gwen thought, a fondness growing in her heart for those around her.
A/N: So, this had an Eleven cameo. I had also intended for there to be a Rory cameo, but . . . Didn't work out. I also hadn't really intended for this chapter to end so soon, either, but the ending seemed right.
Also! If you spotted the teeny tiny Bioshock reference, yay! :]