It was a great day.
Ianto was just where he enjoyed being the most: wearing nothing but Jack’s greatcoat as he straddled his Apocalypse’s lap, scythe at hand…oh yes, things were going very well indeed.
Until bloody Owen Harper burst into Jack’s office, a blushing and upset Toshiko in his wake.
Ianto glared as Pestilence gagged and covered his eyes. “Shit! Why didn’t you warn me?”
“I did!” Toshiko protested. “I told you Jack was occupied –“
“Yeah, but I didn’t know when you said occupied, you meant occupied –“
“What’s so important that you had to enter my office without at least knocking?” Jack asked calmly, as if he didn’t, in fact, have the reigning Avatar of Death impaled on his own, personal scythe.
Ianto couldn’t believe he’d just thought that.
“I just heard something you might wanna hear,” Owen answered, keeping his eyes averted.
“It better be good.” There was the slightest hint of threat in Apocalypse’s voice, and it did things to Ianto’s libido, making him grind down just a little. He heard Jack’s breath hitch, and Death couldn’t help but smirk. “You’re interrupting something I really didn’t want interrupted.”
Pestilence muttered something that Ianto couldn’t hear, and then said, “Is an Anti-Christ Situation good enough for you?”
Ianto hadn’t seen Jack move so fast since he’d last promised to tie him up and tickle him with a peacock feather until he came.
The boardroom was full, with every one of the Horsemen and their PA’s present. Ianto nursed his cup of coffee and sat down next to his own PA, Donna, and she surreptitiously rolled her eyes at him. Of course she would have heard about what had happened through her sources within the Armageddon Department grapevine, and he was curious to discover if what she knew tallied with what Owen had told them…once Pestilence had gotten over his horror at finding both Death and Apocalypse in flagrante.
“Okay, people,” Jack called the meeting to order, choosing not to take his own seat and instead was leaning over the conference table, his face grim. “I needed to warn you now that we’ve had word of an Anti-Christ Situation.”
That caused a stir among the gathered Department heads and their assistants. Only Andy held up his hand, and Jack recognised him. “Sorry, but what is an Anti-Christ Situation?”
“That’s right…sorry, Andy,” Jack said, “I forgot you weren’t in the Department when the last one happened.” He leaned up, scrubbing his face with both hands. “Okay, this is the easy explanation –“
“There’s an easy explanation?” Ianto quipped.
Apocalypse sent him a glare that Ianto wasn’t at all ashamed to admit turned him in. In retaliation, he raised a well-sculpted eyebrow at his lover, and had the pleasure of seeing Jack’s pupils dilate just a bit.
‘As I was saying,” Apocalypse went on, “As I’m sure you’re aware, Evil and Good have a…thing, to put it delicately.”
“Opposites truly attract in their case,” Toshiko snarked.
“Big time,” Owen added.
“The problem is,” Jack shared the glare with his PA and Pestilence, but it didn’t cause the same reaction in them that it had in Ianto, “is that Good and Evil, while completely batty about each other, also can’t stand to be around the other in large doses. This leads to temper tantrums of Cosmic proportions. And I mean Cosmic, with a capital C.”
“The entirety of the dimensions can be affected,” Toshiko added.
“That’s not the worst of it,” Owen put in. “I was talking to Katie – Evil’s PA – and she said she’d been clearing Evil’s schedule a lot lately. She hadn’t thought much about it, but then today Evil came into his office looking like he’d just gotten laid. Her words, not mine.”
Donna caught Ianto’s eye, and he nodded, silently reminding her to pick up his winnings in the ‘Is Owen dating Katie?’ pool.
“So Good and Evil are back at it?” Andy guessed.
“No, they’re not,” Jack confirmed. “In fact, according to Rory, Good is moping around like a…well, a moping, jilted lover.”
“But he’s been banging Chaos!” John Hart exclaimed. “Everyone knows that!”
“Actually,” Ianto said, “they haven’t, much to River’s irritation.” Every eye in the room was on him, and he shrugged. “Rory’s a friend. He’s also River’s father. She might be acting all coy in public, but in private she’s the female version of cock blocked.” He didn’t add that Good’s Archangel would have been raving about it if that particular relationship had been consummated.
“And we wouldn’t be talking about an Anti-Christ Situation if that were the case,” Jack added.
“No,” War drawled, “we’d be smothered in feels from those two, and busy looking for the closest supply of insulin. Not wanting to about to piss our pants.”
“I think Andy is a bit lost,” Rose commented. She was right; Famine looked as if he didn’t get what they were trying to say.
“And this is why this isn’t an easy story,” Ianto replied, sipping his coffee.
Jack glared at him once more, and Ianto simply took it.
“If I would stop being interrupted,” Apocalypse snapped, “I might actually get to what Andy needs to know.”
There was silence around the table, and Ianto smirked into his coffee mug. He loved it when Jack got…well, Apocalyptic.
“If I may continue.” Jack waited for a moment, and then began speaking once more. “What this means, is that Evil has found an…alternative source of stress relief...although how he does it with the pick-up lines he uses, going around admitting that he’s the embodiment of Evil…never mind. And it’s not within the Department, because it’s not Good and, if he’d finally taken up with the Demon Queen she’d be bragging to all and sundry.”
“But that means…” Andy’s voice faded out, and an incredulous look crossed his features. And then his face twisted. “A mortal? Ew!”
“I never knew you were prejudiced, Andy,” Jack returned, examining his Famine closely.
“It’s not that,” Andy protested. Then he blinked, and changed his mind. “Okay, maybe a little. But why would Evil do the dirty with a mortal when there’s an entire Department to choose from? After all, he’s a bit of a fit bloke…” He blushed as he must have realised what he’d just said. “I mean…oh, bloody…”
The table cracked up. “Our Andy has a thing for Evil,” Owen teased.
“I do not!” Famine denied.
“I bet you have all of Evil’s trading cards,” Rose chuckled.
“Oh, he does!” Diane confirmed. “He special orders the packs.”
“I have the cards of everyone in the Department!” Andy exclaimed, his pale face blushing. “There’s just a lot of Evil cards out there! I can’t help getting doubles!” Then he turned back to Jack. “I don’t understand what the big deal is…well, except it’s a mortal…”
“The big deal is,” Jack answered, “that every time Evil has gone outside the Department for his…dates, it’s ended in a pregnancy.”
“This is why it’s called an Anti-Christ Situation,” Ianto said. “In most religions all over the Multiverse the child of Evil is usually called something along the lines of Anti-Christ.”
“And,” Owen put in, “these kids usually end up making more work for us.”
“Yeah,” John said, “they’re more hellspawn than the usual hellspawn you see in the hallways around here.”
“An Anti-Christ always heralds an Armageddon,” Jack explained. “Within twenty-one years of an Anti-Christ being born, we have one, and it’s usually a doozy.”
“But that’s not what’s worse,” Rose said. “There can’t be an Anti-Christ without a Christ on the Good side.”
Jackie’s eyes went wide. “You mean now Good has to…” she made certain hand gestures that could be translated to the entire table.
“Pretty much, yeah.” Owen leaned back in his chair. “Which is why he’s up in his office, pouting.”
“Sometimes I think Evil does it just to irritate Good,” Toshiko opined. “It’s what they’re both best at, getting each pissed off at the other.”
“But from what I understand,” Donna said, smirking, “the make-up sex between them is fantastic.”
“Yeah,” John sighed. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that!”
Ianto rolled his eyes at that. Of course John wouldn’t mind. In fact, he’d most likely want to join in.
“But,” Jack said ominously, “that’s not the worst part.”
“You mean it gets worse?” Andy asked, dismayed.
“Oh yes,” Death answered forbiddingly. This was what he really hated about an Anti-Christ Situation. “Evil will expect presents for the baby…”
Ianto thought that the betting pool to guess the Anti-Christ’s gender had better be worth it, because Evil was being…well, frankly, Evil. Even more than usual. He almost wished for one of those horrid cupcakes Evil had tried to seduce him with not that long ago.
“I’m a reigning Death,” he growled, “not a pet-finding service!”
Evil pouted, and Ianto found himself comparing it to Jack’s. Nope, it didn’t compete.
“But you found such a lovely vulture for Apocalypse.” The font of all that was bad in the Multiverse was acting like a little kid whose Mother had just told him to go stand in the naughty corner for something he didn’t do. “Why can’t you find a nice creature of some kind for my pending bun in the oven? Every kid needs a pet!”
Ianto actually hurt his eyes in his attempt to keep them from rolling. “I was extremely lucky in finding Myfanwy,” he retorted. “She was the only surviving vulture on the planet Tantalus V.” He wondered if he could somehow Reap Evil, and if it would stick… “What about a hellhound? You have some of those of your own, and they won’t need much potty training.”
“But a hellhound is so passé,” Evil complained. “I want something special! Something that will protect my baby until it’s viciously sent to whatever Hell that benighted planet has.”
“You don’t even know the name of the planet your child is going to be born on?” Ianto asked incredulously. Talk about absentee fathers…
“It doesn’t matter,” Evil pouted once more. “What’s important is that the fruit of my Celestial loins gets the very best I can con, blackmail, or steal out of others. And I want you to find an appropriate pet for the son or daughter of Evil.”
Ianto crossed his arms. “You do realise, it’s going to be me Reaping your poor kid once Armageddon hits that planet, right? And that the greatest gift I can give is a quick and easy death?” He couldn’t believe how angry he was getting.
Evil did this on purpose. He knew the outcome, and yet he still had to go and seduce some poor woman who had no idea her kid would be responsible for the destruction of her entire planet. Although, women did seem to go for the bad boys, and Evil certainly had never bashful about introducing himself.
Suddenly, Ianto knew what he had to do.
Death stifled the smirk that threatened to crawl across his face. “All right.”
Evil looked as if he were going to argue, but then he blinked as Ianto’s words penetrated. Oh yes, Death loved striking the upper echelons speechless. “You will?” he asked, his tone saying he needed confirmation.
“I will find your spawn a pet.”
“Thank you!” Evil grabbed him and hugged him, and Ianto barely managed not to pull away. Being hugged by Evil was like being hugged by a stinky furnace. It made him wonder how the Celestial even managed to get anyone into bed without taking fifty showers beforehand. “I shall reward you for this!”
With a jaunty wave, Evil teleported out of Ianto’s office.
Death sighed, and made his way toward his closed office door. He pulled it open, and seeing Donna at her desk, he requested, “Can you get me some of that industrial strength air freshener? Evil just stunk up my office.” He took a sniff of himself. “And me.”
“Sorry about that, Boss,” his PA answered.
“Yeah, and Jack liked this suit, too.” It wasn’t Jack’s favourite, but it was up there, and the smell of brimstone was hell – no pun intended – to get out of wool. “Also, Donna?”
“I’m going to need you to find out where Evil’s latest conquest is. It looks like I’m in charge of getting the child a pet.” He couldn’t withhold the smirk now that Evil was gone.
“I recognise that look,” Donna said. “It’s your ‘I solemnly swear I’m up to no good’ look.”
Death raised an eyebrow, trying for innocent and knowing he was completely failing. “I do believe I asked you not to read Harry Potter whilst on duty.”
“Harry Potter’s got nothing on you,” she snarked. “You should have patented that saying yourself before Rowling got a hold of it.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Keep telling yourself that, Boss. Someday you might be able to convince everyone else.”
The one thing he hadn’t counted on in his plan to get Evil’s spawn a pet that would reflect Death’s disdain for the job was John Hart.
“She’s a poodle!” War was practically drooling.
Ianto held onto the dog’s leash, protecting the poor animal with his scythe. “Back off, Hart,” he warned. “You know what happened the last time you seduced a poodle.”
“I’m still paying off the lawsuit,” Rose complained.
“But…but she’s a poodle!” John went into full-on puppy-eyed mode – pun intended. “She’s absolutely gorgeous! Oh please, Eye Candy…just an hour. That’s all I need.”
The poodle batted her eyes in John’s direction, and War practically collapsed into a puddle of goo.
“This particular poodle is a gift for Evil’s hellchilde,” Ianto pointed out. “I’m sure you don’t want to explain to him that you ravished the pet he asked me to find for him.”
John pouted. Nope, it wasn’t a patch on Jack’s.
“But…she’s pink!” he moaned. “Pink and such a little minx! She’s too good for Evil’s sadistic love child.”
That was actually what Ianto was counting on.
“You’re seriously going to give a poodle to an Anti-Christ?” Rose asked. Ianto could tell she was barely able to contain her laughter.
“I am, yes.” Maybe then Evil would leave him alone. He had more important things to do than to find pets for a child that wasn’t even born yet.
More important things…like Jack.
“And that bow!” John was going on. “Do you have any idea what that black bow is doing to me?”
Ianto could guess…and so would anyone who happened to get a look at War’s trousers in the next several minutes. And he was sure the black nail varnish wasn’t helping matters, either.
“You are not going to despoil this dog,” Death put his foot down. “In fact I’m going to go and deliver it now.” Anything to get it away from the Department, because he was certain that John had a special poodle sense and that he’d be able to find the dog anywhere Ianto might try to hide her.
“Ianto,” Jack’s voice cut across the office like a knife. “Is there a reason there’s a pink poodle in this building? Rose is still paying off the last lawsuit.”
“Yes there is,” Death turned to face his lover. “It’s the pet that Evil asked me to get for his newest spawn. I was just about to deliver it.”
The twitch of Jack’s lips told him that Apocalypse was about to bust out in laughter. “Are you certain that’s…appropriate?”
“I am,” Death answered. “It’s the perfect pet for a soon-to-be Anti-Christ.”
His eyes met Apocalypse’s and he refused to look away. Jack’s eyes were actually twinkling. “All right,” his lover conceded. “And I suppose you want me to cover for you when Evil finds out?”
“That’s not necessary, Sir,” Death replied. No, he wasn’t about to have anyone get in Evil’s way when he discovered that the special pet Ianto had found was a pink poodle. “I can handle it.”
One eyebrow went up, and Ianto met it one of his own. Honestly, had Jack no faith in him?
The entire office area was quiet, and Ianto could feel everyone’s eyes on them…except for Hart’s, who was still ogling the poodle. Finally, Jack’s lips turned upward into a slow, almost intimate smile. “I love it when you get all masterly.”
Ianto rolled his eyes, snorting. “Not now, Jack. Later.”
Apocalypse pouted. Now, that was what Ianto loved to see.
“Ah, come in Ianto.”
Death nodded to Amy, who smiled up at him as she closed Good’s office door behind her. He turned, and watched as Good paced the length of the room, his hands flapping helplessly.
“Yes, Sir?” he asked politely, standing just inside the door and out of Good’s pace-path.
“I understand that Evil asked you to find a suitable pet for his…” Good flapped his hands again, and Ianto could interpret him perfectly.
“He did, Sir,” Death answered, still polite.
Good’s shoulders slumped. “I’d really hoped I wouldn’t have to…” He made yet another gesture, this one Ianto would have sworn he’d never see the Celestial make.
“Not necessarily, Sir.” This time his voice was bland.
That stopped Good in his tracks. He turned and gawped at Ianto, his hands suddenly still. “But there’s always a Christ figure to counter the Anti-Christ, and as we both know Evil’s been sticking something where it doesn’t belong. So how do you think it might not be necessary for me to…?” He made the same gesture, and Ianto thought it was hilarious that Good simply couldn’t say ‘have sex for the express purpose of breeding a child to counter an Anti-Christ’ but had to make a production out of it instead.
“Are you aware of just what planet Evil has…shall we say, set up for failure?” he asked, a smirk tugging one side of his mouth up.
Good looked confused. “No, but then I’ve been hoping I could ignore it as much as possible.”
Death wasn’t surprised. But then, Evil hadn’t been paying attention, either.
And so, he explained exactly what he’d discovered, with Donna’s invaluable help.
When he was done, Good was grinning like a maniac. “That’s…why aren’t you on my staff, Ianto?”
“Because you don’t offer the same benefits package Apocalypse does.”
“I’m sure I can top whatever Jack gives you –“
Death raised an eyebrow. “Sexual favours?” It really wasn’t like that between himself and Jack, but a lot of people thought it was. Why not play it up if that’s what they wanted to believe?
“Ah.” Good blushed slightly. Ianto wondered why the man was such a prude when he and Evil could be like two Celestial bunnies when they wanted to. “Then, I’ll let you be on with your duties.”
“Thank you, Sir.” He turned to leave, but Good called him back. “Yes, Sir?”
“Good work. Pun intended, of course.”
“Of course, Sir.” Ianto wondered why Good had felt the need to qualify that. “Thank you.” But at least he could do would be to accept the praise, because, if he had to admit it, it really was well deserved.
“You sent my spawn a poodle?”
Ianto leaned back in his chair, looking up at a raging Evil. He was fascinated by the smoke coming out of the Celestial’s ears, and wondered vaguely if he could get him to breathe fire or something equally destructive having to do with natural bodily functions.
Then he wondered just when Owen had rubbed off on him enough to even think such a thing, and vowed to get even with his fellow Horseman for it. “I did.”
“You gave…my child…a poodle?”
Death stifled his sigh. How many times did he have to admit it? “Yes, I did.”
He wasn’t particularly afraid of Evil. After all, the only person who could relieve him of any sort of duty was Apocalypse, and Ianto knew that his lover wasn’t about to do that. However, Evil could make his existence literally a living hell, and that was something Ianto didn’t really want to happen.
“How do you think that’s a good idea in any universe?” Evil demanded.
“It’s quite an excellent idea…when the woman you slept with is from the Pax Confederacy.”
That stopped Evil right in mid-rant. In fact, Ianto wished he had some sort of camera in order to catch the goldfish look on the Celestial’s face. His mouth opened and closed but nothing came out.
Ianto loved it when a plan came together.
“But…” Evil finally managed to stammer. “But…”
“You met her in a spaceport,” Ianto supplied, “handing out some sort of pamphlet. Didn’t you even bother to find out what those pamphlets said?”
He knew, of course. Donna had done some magnificent bits of research in tracking down the mother of Evil’s hellspawn, and he’d rewarded her handsomely. In fact, he doubted she’d be able to see the top of her desk for days due to all the flowers and candy boxes.
“Not all spaceports are the wretched hives of scum and villainy you seem to think they are,” Ianto continued. “Although this one came close. Your newest girlfriend was there to preach peace amongst the scum, at which she was failing…until she attracted the embodiment of Evil who told her who he was and asked her if she wanted to have a quick shag. She was most likely thinking she could save you from yourself.” Even the really virtuous had needs, and her need had been to convert the ultimate Evil to the ways of peace. “After you left her, she was called home to have your child. Of course, you didn’t realise where that home was…the Pax Confederacy.”
Evil looked horrified. “But that…that’s the most wonderful, loveliest, nicest, peacefulest place in the entire Multiverse!” He made every adjective in that sentence sound like a curse.
Well, Ianto supposed they were curse words for Evil.
“You should have paid attention to whom you chose to have sex with,” Ianto pointed out, leaning back in his chair and steepling his fingers. He felt decidedly smug. “That poor child of yours never had a chance.”
“That place practically oozes goodness from every Higgs particle!” Evil exclaimed. “The worse my kid could do there was rack up speeding tickets and refuse to pay them!”
“What I want to know,” Death said, “was why you didn’t sense all that goodness while you were busy seducing this girl. It should have been obvious to someone so inherently….evil.” Oh yes, he absolutely felt smug, because there was only one reason for Evil to miss all of that. “One would think you were looking for someone exactly like that…I wonder why.”
Evil caught exactly what Ianto was intimating, and he didn’t seem to like it one bit. “There will be no speaking of this, ever again,” he snarled. With a noxious explosion, Evil vanished from the office.
Ianto waved a hand in front of his face in order to dispel the fumes, and he couldn’t help but grin. Evil had just confirmed his suspicions.
Hopefully Evil would be back to shagging Good in no time at all.
“You couldn’t tell me this when you brought the poodle into the office?” Jack whined.
Ianto sat on the edge of Apocalypse’s desk, his ankles crossed. “I didn’t want word to get back to Evil about it.”
“The Pax Confederacy,” Jack snorted, shaking his head in disbelief. “That was why you were so confident that a poodle was an appropriate pet.”
“If I’d given that child something like a hellhound, it would have been converted to goodness within a week.” He’d later gone to Harmony, and asked her if she could have her department keep an eye on Evil’s offspring, and she’d agreed…after laughing her arse off about it. Evil simply didn’t stand a chance on any of the worlds of the Confederacy. Even Death’s Angels were affected by the atmosphere of the place, always giving those they were sent to Reap a quick and painless death...when they weren’t arguing about letting them live, because they were such lovely beings. After them being assigned to the Confederacy, Ianto didn’t dare send them anywhere else.
“No wonder he was able to pick her up so easily,” Jack mused. “That girl would have been a hero for seducing Evil into the Light Side. And at least now we don’t have to deal with an Armageddon down the road.”
“It all came down to Evil wanting Good but being too stubborn about making up for their latest argument,” Death concluded. “So he found someone just like Good, only female and mortal.”
“It didn’t even occur to him, either,” Jack chortled. “Let’s hope he gets the hint and things get back to normal around here.” He reached out a hand, to grab Ianto’s nearest wrist and pull him forward to straddle his lap. “And we can get back to business.” He slid Death’s tie loose and tossed it aside, and then began to nibble on Ianto’s neck.
“Normal sounds good,” Ianto gasped. “Is the door locked this time? I’d hate to scar Owen again.”
“I’d rather not.”
“Me neither, I’m a jealous bastard and I won’t share you with anyone.”
Apocalypse growled at that.
And then the door burst open.
“I did tell you Ianto was in there!” Toshiko protested. “You should know what that means by now!”
Ianto sighed, resting his head on Jack’s shoulder. It really was a wonder he wasn’t sexually frustrated.