Having backed into the main sanctuary as far as he dared, Ianto took a deep breath and then ran full stride to the edge of the pit and hurled himself across the space in a spectacular broad jump. Unfortunately, despite his desperate albeit impressive attempt, he didn’t make it; his body hit the far side of the pit at mid-chest level and he began to slide out of view. Digging the toes of his sturdy boots into the wall Ianto clawed wildly at the lip of the pit in a frantic bid to stop his descent, and then with just the tips of his fingers remaining over the edge he began to slowly pull himself up from the very brink of disaster.
At the chamber of light, Grey paused to catch his breath; the adrenaline surge from besting the great Ianto Jones was beginning to wear off but with the other man stranded on the far side of a nearly bottomless abyss he had the luxury of slowing down. Pulling the figurine from his pocket, he looked it over in the light of the sun; it was truly stunning and surprisingly heavy for such a small piece, “But then, you’re all gold, aren’t you!” Grey planted a loud smacking kiss on the statue’s face and tucked it back into his pocket before he began to edge carefully around the light; he wasn’t worried about Ianto catching up to him. “There is no way Jones can get across that pit!”
Reaching the vine landing Ianto sailed through sideways and rolled to stop at the bottom of the steps with his beloved whip is grasped firmly in his hand. He’s not far behind Grey now and as he raised himself up the young Welshman heard a familiar rumbling from above him. He knew instantly that it was the giant spikes in the chamber of light, and as he held his breath, hoping for the best, there was a deafening clang and an abrupt, sickening rendition of Grey’s last strangled scream. Ianto sighed, thankful that he hadn’t witnessed the man’s grisly demise, and ran up the steps as the rumbling sound grew louder.
As he stepped into the chamber of light, Ianto slid to an abrupt stop, taking in the scene before him; the spikes had retracted, taking Grey’s body with them so that he dangled lifelessly to one side. Studiously keeping his eyes on the position of his feet and his body, Ianto edged into the chamber with his back to the shaft of light and he soon found himself standing face-to-face with the dead Grey. Deliberately looking everywhere but his face, Ianto saw that the heavy iron spikes were protruding from several vital spots in the man’s body.
Taking care not to let his butt break the circle of light, Ianto bent down and easily removed the golden idol from Grey’s pocket, slipped it into his own and then moved quickly out the other side of the chamber.
“Adios,” Ianto called out with a jaunty wave over his shoulder.
‘I’m almost there!’ Ianto thought happily as he found his way back to the cut-off hallway and turned toward the exit; he finally took the time to look around, trying to figure out where the persistent and very loud rumbling sound was coming from. If he let his imagination run away with him, he’d have sworn that it was actually following him and when Ianto glanced over his shoulder he saw to his horror – and his imagination’s satisfaction –a huge boulder coming his way. Its creators had made sure that it was perfectly form-fitting to the passageway and as it roared around the corner of the corridor, it thoroughly obliterated everything before it, sending the overhead stalactites shooting ahead like missiles.
“Seriously, a giant boulder? Who uses giant rocks anymore?” Ianto demanded with extreme irritation as he dashed for the light of the exit; his hat flew off his head and was almost immediately crushed by the boulder but he had no time to mourn its loss. Ianto put every last ounce of strength and speed he had into his dive out the end of the passage and as he executed a perfect shoulder roll to safety, the boulder slammed to a stop just inches from his him. It was so well crafted that it created a perfect fit at the entrance, forever sealing the temple and its remaining treasures from interlopers and thieves.
“I’m going to miss my hat,” Ianto muttered morosely as he lay on the ground gasping for air, “but at least I have what I came for,” and he patted his pocket, taking some small comfort in the hard shape beneath his hand. Suddenly a shadow fell across him and he looked up, immediately wishing he hadn’t.
Looming above him were three distinctive figures; two were Tarqin warriors in full battle paint, wearing traditional loin cloths and carrying long blow guns. But it was the man in the center with the mocking smirk on his narrow, rodent-like face who drew Ianto’s attention; in an attempt to make himself look impressive despite his smaller stature, he was dressed in a full safari outfit including a classic pith helmet. The man was Owen Harper and beyond him and his two escorts Ianto could see at least thirty more Tarqin warriors hovering at the edge of the trees.
“Dr Jones, once again you chose the wrong friends and this time it will cost you dearly,” Owen smoothly informed him as he held out his hand and waggled his fingers imperiously.
Ianto looked at it and then with a sigh he produced the idol and handed it to Owen. Owen smiled and crooked an eyebrow before extending his other hand; with a distasteful look on his face Ianto reluctantly surrendered the sonic blaster he’d removed from Adam’s body hours earlier and watched while Owen stuck it in his jacket. “And here you were thinking I’d given up,” he shook his head. “Maybe you should go back to doing what you’re good at, like serving your betters, Tea-Boy.”
Ianto fought the growing urge to throttle Owen as he eyed the Tarqin. “It’s too bad they don’t know you like I do, Owen,” he snarled contemptuously at the sarcastic thief.
Owen’s smile was pure wickedness. “Yes, too bad. You could warn them, if only you spoke Tarqin.” With that Owen turned dramatically and held the golden idol high above his head for all the Tarqin to see. When he had every man’s attention, he said something in rapid-fire Tarqin that spurred such immediate recognition that all the warriors, including Owen’s personal escorts, dropped to their knees and bowed so low that their foreheads touched the ground.
Ianto was no fool and he instantly recognised that he’d just been given his one and only chance to live; he leapt to his feet and bolted towards the edge of the clearing praying that he didn’t trip over anything on the way.
Whirling around, Owen saw that Ianto was nearly ten yards away already and moving fast; “Kill him!” he snarled in Tarqin.
Reaching the edge of the clearing Ianto disappeared into the dense foliage of the jungle and an instant later, the leaves behind him were peppered with a rain of poison darts and spears.
Ianto ran like hell through the steadily falling terrain, even though his body ached, his legs were rubbery and his lungs burned if he slowed down even for a moment it would mean his death. Right behind him were the rapidly gaining and clearly angry Tarqin, whose darts and spears continually whizzed past his head; one even cut a groove in the sleeve of his leather jacket. ‘Please let John be at the meeting place!’ Ianto never thought he would pray something like that where John was concerned, but with bloodthirsty, cannibalistic warriors chasing him he would gladly choose the lesser of two evils.
"Where the hell is Eye-Candy?" John Hart asked as he shielded his eyes against the glaring sun and tapped his foot against the side of his shuttle. He’d been resting comfortably in its open door as it floated in the river, but now he was bored and anxious to get back to civilisation. Ianto had refused to allow him any alcohol onboard the shuttle, which just made the waiting even worse; the young man was lucky that he was so hot otherwise there was no way John would have been there at all.
Breaking out of the distant brush Ianto felt a surge of hope filling and giving him an extra spurt of strength; as he ran across the cliff he spotted John standing in the door of their shuttle. "Get it going! Get it going!" Ianto yelled as loudly as he could.
John raised an admiring eyebrow as he watched Ianto's running form, but of course once he caught sight of the angry Tarqin warriors gaining ground behind Ianto, he couldn't move fast enough to get into the shuttle and start the engines. Looking out the forward window, John saw Ianto reach a spot on the cliff above the shuttle; John held his breath as Ianto glanced back to see a Tarqin warrior just a foot away from him with his spear raised and ready to strike, and then he took a big leap and threw himself into the river. After swimming underwater for as long as he could, Ianto surfaced, swam up to the shuttle and quickly climbed inside.
John raised an amused eyebrow as Ianto secured the hatch and dropped down into the co-pilot’s seat. "What trouble have you gotten into now?" He looked at Ianto’s dripping and bedraggled form and chuckled. “You have looked better.”
Ianto shook his head. "No time to discuss this now, just go!"
John shrugged and took off as instructed, launching the shuttle into the sky. Ianto happily dropped the back of co-pilot's seat and relaxed, ever so grateful for the opportunity to lie on its soft, nearly flat surface and stretch out his aching body; ‘I remember when sleeping rough was fun; I wonder if this means I’m getting old?’ He could feel sleep creeping up on him and he sighed deeply and relaxed even more; one of his hands dropped from his lap down onto the cabin floor only to land not on solid metal grating but on something soft… that moved!
“What the hell!?” Startled by the unexpected encounter Ianto jumped to his feet forgetting where he was and knocking his skull smartly into the ship’s bulkhead. As he rubbed the growing lump on the back of his head he looked down and there on the floor of the cabin was a huge boa constrictor. Ianto made a distasteful face as he sat down again, pulled his feet up under him and tried to fold his entire body up on his seat. “John?”
There was distinctly naughty mirth shining in John's eyes as he glanced over at Ianto. "Don't mind her, that's Fifi. She wouldn't hurt a soul." He let his hand fall down to caress the reptile as she slithered slowly around the base of his seat.
Ianto shuddered with revulsion. "I can't stand snakes!"
John raised an eyebrow. "You do know that many planets have some form of snakes on them, right?”
Ianto shook his head in dismay. "I know, but I still hate them."
A sharp bark of laughter escaped John's lips. "Come on, Eye-Candy, show a little old backbone."
Ianto gritted his teeth. "Do not call me Eye-Candy." He hated that blasted nickname with a passion and he suspected that the main reason John used it was because it guaranteed a rise of Ianto’s temper.
"Well…” John's smile was positively evil. “…this is my ship and I'll call you what I want, unless you want to hitchhike from the nearest run-down outpost, although,” he paused and looked Ianto over with a suggestive leer, “I'm sure with your looks someone will pick you up."
Knowing that for now he was going to have to put up it the hated nickname Ianto growled something unintelligible under his breath and instead focused his attention on the beautiful scenery of the stars, like an old and faithful friend, they always calmed him.