Summary: Our favourite tortured boys are back in this third and final instalment in which they try to outrun Hell.
Notes: See chapter 1 for disclaimer warnings and related info. Thanks for reading and commenting and as always enjoy.
I spend most of the day at Ed’s trying to sort through everything, the whole time hoping for a knock on the door or a call from Jack. Finally, I leave Ed at the house with instructions to call me if Jack shows up, and I head to Tosh’s. John was going to stay with Daniel, so his house is covered. With Owen gone, this is the only other place I can think that Jack would go. I step out of the Shelby onto the sidewalk and stride to Tosh’s door, then ring the bell and wait.
Tosh appears at the door a minute later with Tommy at his side.
Her eyes widen in surprise. “Ianto?”
I smile and try to stay calm. “Hello, Tosh. Tommy,” I add with a nod in his direction.
“What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in London with Jack?”
I stare at her, wishing I had thought this through a little more thoroughly. From her surprise, it’s clear that she hasn’t heard from Jack. But if she does, I need to know about it.
“We actually haven’t left yet,” I say. “Problem with some last minute details and Jack had some last-minute things to do. We were supposed to meet at his house,” I continue, “but he’s late. I was hoping he stopped here on his way?”
“No. I haven’t seen him.” She pulls her phone out of her pocket.
“I already tried his cell. He’s not answering.”
Her hand drops to her side. “Oh. Well…”
I smile at her. “So, if he stops by—”
“I’ll tell him to get his butt home,” she finishes for me with a smile.
“Thanks, Tosh,” I say with a nod and turn for the car. “See you, Tommy.”
“Tell him I miss him already!” Tosh calls after me.
I raise a hand in acknowledgment as I jog to the car, slipping into the front seat. The instant I’m inside, I know I’m not alone. The pungent stench of unbathed humanity almost drives me back out onto the street.
“Lose something?” The voice is female, but I don’t recognise it. I look toward the passenger seat into a face that is totally unfamiliar. But the eyes … they draw me in … pulling at something deep and primal within me—pure animal need.
I automatically reach for the door handle and drop my gaze before Lilith can snare me. “I recognise you, so you can turn off the infernal tractor beam. I’m not going to fall for it again.”
“I suppose if I said ‘your loss’ that wouldn’t help my cause.”
“Nothing is going to help your cause, Lilith,” I say, my eyes flicking momentarily to her new face.
Her host would be pretty if she wasn’t neglected and malnourished—too skinny, with sunken purple hollows under her eyes. Her shoulder-length carrot-red hair is matted in places, and her pallid skin is drawn tightly over protruding bone.
I almost feel sorry for her, wondering what in her life was so bad it drove her to drugs—and, most likely, worse. But then Lilith smiles, exposing brown, rotting teeth, and her eyes glint in the dim light as something lascivious slides across her face.
“I’m not here for that anyway,” she says.
I realise she sounds different. Weary.
“Jack is with Gray,” I say. “Where are they?”
A wicked smile curves her cracked lips. “Not far.”
My hand shoots out like a dart, clamping around her throat and pinning her against the passenger door. “Where?”
“He’s on a rescue mission, Ianto. You know where he’s going.”
I let go of her as I feel her seductive pull, and her form starts to flicker into something far more appealing. “Turn it off, Lilith,” I warn.
She slumps back into the seat. “You’re no fun,” she laments.
She sighs, sinking deeper into the seat. “Do you remember when you told me I didn’t need to be like this?” she says, gesturing with the wave of an arm at her emaciated body.
“Yes.” The scene is all too vivid in my mind—Jack’s lifeless body on the bed with John hovering over him, and Lilith holding Jack’s and my souls hostage inside her host.
“Did you have an actual plan, or were you just blowing sunshine?”
I drop my gaze, because I was, in fact, blowing sunshine. I would have said anything to get her to let Jack’s soul go.
“I don’t want this anymore,” she says quietly. “And I think I know a way out.”
My gaze snaps to her then. I can’t help myself. “How?”
“It has to do with Jack.”
Where I was suspicious before, I feel my hackles rise. “You go anywhere near Jack, I will kill you with my bare hands.”
The smallest of smiles curls the corners of her lips. “That didn’t work out so hot last time you tried.”
My blood runs cold when I remember the park—how I had intended to kill Lilith/Lisa.
“My mistake. I won’t make the same one twice,” I bluff.
“As titillating as the thought of you making the same mistake twice is…” she says, reaching out to stroke my thigh. “I’m serious. I want out.” With the last words, her casual façade slips and she looks dead serious and scared. “You got out. You’re the only one ever to do it. Help me. Please.”
The desperation in her eyes is unmistakable. And the fact that I can look into them for this long without needing to dive into them—dive into her, I think with chagrin—is all the proof I need that she means what she’s saying. She’s turned off the succubus siren.
I look at her more appraisingly. I gave up my immortality for love. She gave up her mortality for lust. When she had the choice all those eons ago, she chose eternity in the Abyss. Is it possible that she could change after all this time? She’s spent a good chunk of those eons at King Lucifer’s side. She could know things—His weaknesses, vulnerabilities. “Give me one reason why I should trust you.”
“Because you were right. Once He has Jack, He won’t want me anymore. He’s already obsessed with him. It’s all He talks about.” Her pale green eyes lock on mine. “I’ll have nothing. I’ll be nothing…” she slumps and trails off, defeated. Her eyes fall to her thigh where she picks at a large scab just below the hem of her short skirt. “You have to help me,” she says, her voice so low I can barely hear her.
“What are you proposing?”
She lifts her eyes and stares at me out from under scraggly, matted red lashes. “You help me, I help you.”
“That seems a bit lacking in the details department. Give me something specific.”
She continues to hold my gaze. “I think Jack’s more than he seems. He thinks he is. It’s not just his Sway He wants.”
Again, I feel myself bristle. How much does He know? Because Jack is more than he seems—angel, demon, and mortal rolled into one. Couple that with his Sway, and God only knows what he’s capable of. “Jack’s not going to be any part of this,” I growl.
“If you want to take Him down, he’s going to have to be.”
I feel a jolt of shock grip my gut. I never expected taking Him down to be on the table. It’s not possible. But even if it were, I couldn’t risk Jack. “Then there’s no deal. I’m not letting you—or Him—” I add with a shudder, “—within a mile of him.”
But as I say it, I feel a hole open in my chest, realising I don’t know where “within a mile of him” is. Jack could be anywhere. And He could already be there with him.
There’s a tap on the glass behind me and Lilith’s face pinches.
“Don’t tell him,” she hisses.
I turn to see Naburus’ face leering through the window at me. “Your boyfriend isn’t in on the plan?”
She glares at me, a warning in her cold eyes.
When I roll down my window, he leans in. “Didn’t get enough the first time?”
My stomach rolls and I glare up at him. “If you touch Maggie, I will kill you.” He barks out a laugh as I reach across and push open Lilith’s door. “Stay away from Jack. Stay away from me.”
She grins. “Or you’ll what? Sic your celestial friend on me?” she says as she slides out of the Shelby. “You’re even starting to smell bad,” she adds, waving a hand in front of his face.
Coming from her, that’s almost laughable. Though, even after she’s gone, the scent of unwashed humanity lingers, and I realise it may not have all been her. She and Russell stand, watching, as I peel away from the curb. I head back to my apartment for a change of clothes and pray sincerely to God that John’s had better luck than I have.