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Chapter 9

Once Jack led Methos, MacLeod, and Dawson on a tour of the Hub, the requisite astonishment, exclamations over the dinosaur, and age jokes commenced. After the niceties were observed, Jack and Ianto escorted their visitors to the boardroom, where he fixed Methos with an icy glare. “Okay, you old bastard, why have you been mucking around in my computer system and what the hell do you know about Saxon, the Toclafane, and the Doctor?”

“More than I ever wanted to,” Methos began, as he launched into every memory he had of life on Earth during the Year That Never Was. He only left out his relationship with Ianto; he would share that information with Jack if and when the time was right.

An hour later, Jack was pale and shaking. He clutched Ianto’s hand under the table as the ancient Immortal finished his tale of living through Harold Saxon’s reign of terror and destruction. He started to open his mouth to speak, but the Old Man beat him to it.

“It’s not a dream or hallucination, is it?” Methos demanded, imploring Jack to be honest with him.

“It really happened, but you shouldn’t remember it,” Jack replied, shaking his head. “No one should.” The Doctor was going to go spare. There was no way Jack was calling him until he knew why Methos of all people remembered the paradox. The Doctor had avoided the ancient for centuries, only muttering something about timelines when his name was mentioned.

“I don’t know why I do, but ...answer me something first. What about the vision of the monster – Abbadon – and you?” Methos asked Jack. “You’re not in any of my other memories and that seems different – like a video playing in my head.”

“I think you’re seeing me face him – Abbadon – before I left with the Doctor,” Jack replied, sighing. “He was released from the Void and was feeding on life energy. He was killing people, so I gave him what I have an excess of – life. But, that happened before the paradox, so I’m not sure why you ... unless, Ianto, do we have any footage from that day?” he asked, realising he didn’t know.

Ianto nodded. “The camera in the SUV was running, so when Gwen stayed just out of your sight, it recorded everything.” He leant over the computer and pulled up the footage.

Silently, everyone in the room watched the confrontation, the release of energy, and Jack’s subsequent death. The Captain reached over Ianto to kill the feed when the camera focused on a sobbing Gwen cradling his lifeless body and screaming for help. They both knew what happened next – and it was not germane to the situation.

Around them, Joe and Mac looked stunned, but Methos was just contemplative “That looks like ...” Mac began, but Methos silenced him with a nod.

“I know,” he replied curtly. “Someone let me see it while we were underground,” he added, remembering now where he’d seen the footage before. Ianto had shown it to him while they were hiding from Saxon and his people. It had been part of the younger man’s explanation about why Jack had left and why he was sure he was never coming back – even after Saxon was defeated. Methos was not bringing that bit of information – or his relationship with Ianto – to light. Jack had said that the year never happened, so no one else – not even Ianto – knew about their relationship. Exposing it would only hurt the Welshman, MacLeod, and Jack. Besides, it wasn’t important at the moment.

Using distraction had proven effective in the past, so Methos tried it again. “There’s something strange about this place, about Cardiff, and about you, Jack.” Methos paused as if trying to find the right words. “It’s like a tingle on our skin and in the back of our minds.”

“The Rift?” Ianto asked, looking slightly askance at Jack.

“Maybe,” Jack admitted, brow furrowed in contemplation. “There’s a Rift in Time and Space in Cardiff,” he explained. “We guard it and handle the flotsam and jetsam that comes through. Maybe Immortals are just attuned to it.”

“And you?” Methos wondered, eyeing the other immortal closely. “I’ve felt something similar from you since we met. It’s like an Immortal presence but just barely there.”

Jack looked down at his hands and back up again. “Something happened to me years ago, and now I can’t die,” he told their three guests. “While I was away, I found out that it’s the Time Vortex that makes me this way. That’s also what powers the Rift and what Saxon used to create his paradox. It has to be what you’re sensing.”

“So what now?” MacLeod asked after they had a few minutes to absorb what Jack was telling them. “What do we do with what we know?”

“That’s for you to decide,” Jack told them, making eye contact with each one. “All I can tell you is that things are about to change for Earth and as I once told Methos Immortals are a big part of that. I can’t tell you more without risking a paradox, especially now with the fabric of time and space still healing from what Saxon did. Still, I’d hope that you would want to be part of what we do at Torchwood – protect the planet.”

There was a murmur from the three men, and then Methos smiled at Jack. “Can you give us a minute?” he asked.

“Of course,” Jack said to their visitors as he gestured for Ianto to join him in the corridor. “Call everyone in,” the Captain told Ianto quietly once they were away from the boardroom. “I know it’s been a long day, but this can’t wait. Methos knows too much about what happened while I was away and I don’t like that he can feel the Rift and temporal displacements one bit. We can’t just let him walk out of here. I know of only one way to keep him connected to us that won’t get us all killed.”

“And that is?” Ianto asked, his expression suggesting that not being murdered by an ancient, sword-wielding academic sounded good to him.

“I’m going to offer him, MacLeod, and Dawson jobs,” Jack replied as he turned back towards the boardroom and their guests, leaving Ianto gaping after him.

Next Part

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