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Fic: The Welsh Groom Chapter 2

Title: The Welsh Groom
Author: backrose_17
Prompt: The Princess Bride
Pairings/Characters: Jack/Ianto, Doctor/Tosh, Andy/Donna, Rhys/Kathy, Mickey/Martha, John/Owen, Wilf/Estelle, Gwen, Mica, Steven, Wilf,
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: The whole movie of The Princess Bride
Warnings: Attempts at suicide and character deaths
Word Count: 18,884
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood, Doctor Who or the movie the Princess bride.
Summary: Grandpa Wilf tells his grandkids an interesting story.
Beta: faithharkness

Helping the man, Rhys, to tie up their prisoner, the sound of ripping fabric had Tosh turning to face their boss. “What is it that you’re ripping?” she asked.

“It is fabric from the uniform of an army officer of Gilder,” she informed them.

Confused, Rhys titled his head. “Who is Gilder?” he asked, unfamiliar with the name.

Rolling her eyes, Gwen explained, “They are the country across the sea, the sworn enemy of Florin.” Tying the fabric to the horse, she slapped it hard. “Go!” she commanded.

With Rhys carrying the tied up Jack and Tosh keeping a sharp eye out for anyone following them, Gwen led them to the boat she had waiting for them.

Upon reaching the boat, and once they had Jack settled and out of the way, Gwen finished explaining her plan. “Once the horse reaches the castle, the fabric will make the prince suspect the Gilderians have abducted his love. When he finds Jack’s body dead on the Gilder frontier, his suspicions will be totally confirmed.”

Rhys looked horrified. “You never said anything about killing anyone,” he reminded Gwen.

Gwen glared at her giant, wondering again why she hired such a soft-hearted man. “I hired you to help me start a war. It’s a long and prestigious line of work, with a long and glorious tradition.”

Rhys shook his head and gazed sadly at Jack. “I just don’t think its right, killing an innocent man,” he admitted softly.

“Am I going mad, or did the word, ‘THINK’ escape your lips? YOU WERE NOT HIRED FOR YOUR BRAINS, YOU HIPPOPOTAMIC LAND MASS!” Gwen roared.

“I agree with Rhys,” Tosh spoke up, returning the thankful smile Rhys sent her.

Gwen whirled around to face Tosh. “Let me make this clear. What happens to him is none of your concern. I will kill him.” She pointed at Tosh, “When I found you, you were so slobbering drunk, you couldn’t buy brandy.” Next she turned to Rhys, “And you, friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless. Do you want me to send you back to where you were-unemployed, in Greenland?”

Quite certain that she made her point, she stalked away from the two.

“That Gwen, she can fuss,” Tosh whispered lowly.

Rhys nodded his head, “Fuss, fuss….I think she likes to scream…at us,” he added softly.

Tosh sighed, “Probably, yet she means no harm.”

“She’s really very short on…charm,” Rhys said with a smile.

Tosh returned the smile. “You have a great gift for rhyme,” she told him.

Grinning at her he said, “Yes, yes, some of the time.” Rhys was pleased at the soft giggle he got from the usually shy woman.

“Enough of that,” Gwen ordered.

Looking out into the ocean, Tosh noticed something. “Rhys, are there rocks ahead?” she asked.

“If there are, we all will be dead,” Rhys said with a big grin.

“No more rhymes now, I mean it,” Gwen growled back at Rhys.

Unaffected by the growl, Rhys politely asked, “Anybody want a peanut?”

Gwen let out an angry scream.

Night had fallen by the time Jack had awakened; he hadn’t been too happy and thrown a hissy fit, until Gwen threatened to have him knocked out again. Tosh was glancing behind them frequently.

“We’ll reach the cliffs by dawn,” Gwen predicted. Annoyed at Tosh’s behaviour, she finally snapped at Tosh, “Why are you doing that?”

Not taking her eyes off the water, Tosh asked, “Are you sure nobody’s following us?”

“That would be inconceivable,” Gwen scoffed.

“Despite what you think, you will be caught. And when you are, the prince will see you all hanged,” Jack snarled, tired of being quiet.

“Of all the necks on this boat, Highness, the one you should be worrying about is your own.” Gwen glared at Jack before switching over to Tosh. “Stop doing that, we can all relax, it’s almost over,” she ordered.

Gwen’s reassurances did nothing to calm Tosh. “Are you sure nobody’s following us?” she asked again.

Sighing, Gwen rubbed her forehead. “As I told you, it would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways, inconceivable. No one in Gilder knows what we’ve done, and no one in Florin could’ve gotten here so fast.” Pausing, she looked at Tosh. “Out of curiosity, why do you ask?”

Tosh shrugged. “No reason. Suddenly, I just happen to look behind us and something is there,” she admitted.

Rhys and Gwen came to join Tosh, trying to see what she saw.

“Probably some local fisherman out for a pleasure cruise at night….through eel-infested waters.” Even Gwen had doubts about what she said.

Given that no one was watching him, Jack, who had, finally got his hands free, took his chance and dove overboard and started swimming away.

Gwen raced to the side. “Wha-wh-Go in. Get after him,” she ordered.

“I don’t swim,” Tosh admitted.

“I only dog paddle,” was Rhys answer.

Gwen felt like she was going to pull out her hair. “VEER LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!” she roared. Turning her attention to Jack she called to him, “Do you know what that sound is, Highness? Those are the shrieking eels; if you don’t believe me, just wait. They always grow louder when they’re about to feed on human flesh. If you swim back now, I promise, no harm will come to you. I doubt you’ll get such an offer from the eels.”

*****

“He doesn’t get eaten by eels at this time.” Wilf quickly reassured the children.

“What?” and “Yay,” were the two mixed reactions.

“The eel doesn’t get him. Now, I’m explaining this to you because you look nervous.”

“I wasn’t nervous, she might have been but I wasn’t. Well, maybe I was a little bit concerned, but that’s not the same thing,” Steven was quick to say.

“We can stop now if you want,” Wilf offered.

“No, you could read a little bit more, if you want.”

*****

Jack wasn’t one to admit fear, but as the shrieks grew closer, he was torn, between going back to the boat or keep on swimming and take his chance.

The choice was taken out of his hands as Rhys easily lifted him back into the boat.

“Put him down, just put him down.” Gwen was starting to think Jack was more trouble than he was worth.

“I think he’s getting closer,” Tosh called from her spot, her eyes locked on the boat behind them.

“He is no concern of ours. Sail on,” Gwen ordered to Rhys before turning her gaze onto the soaking wet Jack. “I suppose you think you’re so brave, don’t you?”

“Only compared to some,” Jack snarled back.

Dawn broke and, as Gwen thought, they reached the Cliffs of Insanity: this voyage was half way done. Soon, she would be rid of the troublesome prince, but it would be a shame to kill someone as handsome as him.

“Look! He’s right on top of us. I wonder if he’s using the same wind we are using.” Tosh was impressed.

“Whoever he is, he’s too late. See? The Cliffs of Insanity. Hurry up. Move this thing, and that other thing,” Gwen ordered to Rhys; they were so close.

Landing on the shore, Gwen smiled up at the cliffs. “Move it, we’re safe. Only Rhys is strong enough to go up our way. He’ll have to sail around for hours till he finds a harbour,” Gwen said gleefully.

Climbing up the side of the cliffs, Rhys easily had no problem carrying Tosh, Gwen and Jack.

Tosh looked down and said with awe, “He’s climbing the rope. And he’s gaining on us.”

“Inconceivable.” Gwen couldn’t believe it until she, too, glanced down and saw the man in black following them. “FASTER!” she ordered Rhys.

“I thought I was going faster,” Rhys wondered out loud.

Gwen was losing her cool. “You were supposed to be this colossus; you were this great legendary thing, and yet he gains,” she snarled to Rhys.

“Well, I’m carrying three people, and he’s got only himself,” Rhys told her.

But it was clear that Gwen was not in the mood to listen to excuses. “I do not accept excuses. I’m just going to have to find myself a new giant, that’s all,” Gwen snapped back.

“Don’t say that, Gwen. Please?” Rhys knew he needed to stay on Gwen good side to keep his job.

“Didn’t I make it clear that your job is at stake?” Gwen reminded Rhys.

Upon reaching the top, Gwen wasted no time in cutting the rope. One look down proved that the man in black was more skilled than they thought as he was now climbing the cliff.

“He’s got very good arms,” Rhys commented.

Gwen couldn’t believe it. “He didn’t fall. Inconceivable.”

Tosh glanced at Gwen. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,” she informed her boss. Glancing back down she, took notice of the man in black. “My god, he’s climbing.”

“Whoever he is, he’s obviously seen us with the prince and must therefore die.” Pointing at Rhys, Gwen ordered, “You, carry him. We’ll head straight for the Gilder frontier. Catch up when he’s dead. If he falls, fine. If not, the sword,” Gwen ordered Tosh.

A thoughtful look crossed Tosh’s face. “I’m going to do him left-handed,” she decided.

Gwen looked at her like she was crazy. “You know what a hurry we’re in,” she reminded Tosh.

“It is the only way I can be satisfied. If I use my right, it’s over too quickly.” Tosh would not change her mind.

“Oh, have it your way.” Gwen really did not have the time to argue.

Tossing Jack back over his shoulder, Rhys placed a supportive hand on Tosh’s shoulder. “You be careful. People in masks cannot be trusted,” Rhys reminded her.

Tosh nodded her head.

“I’m waiting,” Gwen called from her spot up ahead.

Rhys, with Jack over his shoulder, and Gwen left, leaving Tosh alone to prepare for the masked man.

Looking over the side of the cliff, Tosh called out, “Hello there. Slow going?”

The man in black glanced up quickly before focusing on his difficult climb. “Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but this is not as easy as it looks, so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t distract me,” he called back.

“Sorry,” Tosh called back down.

“Thank you.” The man in black retuned to his climbing

Tosh paced at the top of the cliff while the masked man continued his slow climb.

 Growing impatient for a good fight, Tosh asked, “I do not suppose you could speed things up?”

The man in black looked at her in disbelief before replying, “If you’re in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.”

Tosh looked what remained of the rope at her feet. “I could do that. I still have some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you,” she offered.

“That does put a damper on our relationship,” the man in black called back.

“But, I promise I will not kill you until you reach the top,” Tosh offered.

Clinging to the cliffside, the man in black answered back, “That’s very comforting, but I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait.”

Tosh kicked the ground. “I hate waiting. I could give you my word as a Japanese lady,” she called down.

The man in black shook his head. “No good. I’ve known too many Japanese ladies.”

“Is there not any way you will trust me?” she asked.

“Nothing comes to mind,” he called back, trying not to slip.

A thoughtful look crossed Tosh’s face and she met the man in black’s gaze. “I swear, on the soul of my mother, Naoko Sato, you will reach the top alive.”

The man in black nodded. “Throw me the rope.” He knew that was not a promise to be taken lightly.

The climb was much easier and the man in black reached the top much sooner. “Thank you.”

Taking a few heavy baths, the man in black tried to catch his breath as he reached for his sword.

Tosh who was in no better shape, having helped the man to the top, managed to get out, “W-w-w-w-we’ll wait until you are ready.”

“Again, thank you.” The man took a seat on the nearby rocks.

Biting her lip, Tosh had to ask, “I do not mean to pry, but you don’t by any chance happen to have six fingers on your hand?”

Even beneath his mask, Tosh could tell that he had raised an eyebrow at her question. Still, he held up both hands and asked, “Do you always begin conversations this way?”

Tosh was relieved and sad to see he only had five fingers on each hand. “My mother was slaughtered by a six-fingered man. She was a great sword-maker, my mother. When the six-fingered man appeared and requested a special sword, my mother took the job. She slaved a year before it was done.”  During her story, she had pulled the sword out and handed it to the man.

The man in black admired it. “I’ve never seen its equal,” he told her honestly as he returned her blade.

“The six-fingered man returned and demanded it, but at one-tenth his promised price. My mother refused. Without a word, the six-fingered man slashed her through the heart. I loved my mother, so naturally I challenged her murderer to a duel. I failed and he let me live, but gave me this.” Tosh brushed away the hair from her right side to reveal a long scar.

“How old were you?” the man in black asked.

“I was eleven years old. When I was strong enough, I dedicated my life to the study of fencing, so the next time we meet, I will not fail. I will go up to the six-fingered man and say, ‘Hello. My name is Toshiko Sato. You killed my mother. Prepare to die,’” Tosh informed him.

“You’ve done nothing but study swordplay?” The man was impressed with Tosh’s determination.

“More a pursuit than a study, lately. You see, I cannot find him. It has been twenty years now and I am starting to lose confidence. I just work for Gwen to pay the bills. There is not a lot of money in revenge,” Tosh told him.

“Well, I certainly hope you find him someday.” He truly wished her luck.

Tosh, having noticed that he seemed to have regained his breath fell into a stance. “Are you ready, then?” she asked.

The man climbed to his feet and unsheathed his own sword. “Whether I am or not, you’ve been more than fair.”

“You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you,” Tosh told him honestly.

“You seem a decent lady. I hate to die,” the man in black easily returned.

“Begin,” Tosh ordered.

The two swords clashed and Tosh couldn’t help but comment, “You are using Bonetti’s defence against me, eh?”

“I thought it was fitting, considering the rocky terrain,” the man in black told her.

“Naturally, you must expect me to attack with Capo Ferro?” she countered.

The man in black nodded his head. “Naturally, but I find that Thibault cancels Capo Ferro, don’t you?” 

Tosh smiled. “Unless the enemy hasn’t studied his Agrippa, which I have.” Their blades clashed again and it had been a long time since Tosh had fought anyone this good. “You are wonderful,” she told him happily.

The man in black smiled. “Thank you. I’ve worked hard to become so.”

“I admit it, you are better than I am,” Tosh told him with a smile.

The man was confused. “Then why are you smiling?” he asked.

“Because I know something you don’t know,” Tosh told him.

He would admit he was curious. “And what is that?” he asked.

“I am not left-handed.” Tosh switched her sword to her right hand.

And with that move, their fight began again and the man in black found he was the one being pushed back. 

“You’re amazing,” he told her.

Tosh smiled. “I ought to be after twenty years.”

“There is something I ought to tell you,” the man started.

“Tell me,” Tosh demanded.

“I’m not left-handed, either.” And with that, the man switched his sword to his right hand.

Tosh stared in amazement. “Who are you?” she asked.

“No one of any consequence,” he told her.

But Tosh was not giving up. “I must know.”

But the man was not giving anything away. “Get used to disappointment.”

Seeing that she would not get anything out of him, she shrugged. “Okay.”

And with that, the two resumed their fight, swords clashing as the two danced a beautiful and deadly dance.

But in the end, it was the man in black who won. Accepting her fate, Tosh bared her neck to his sword. “Kill me quickly.” She would face her death with honour, but also a heavy heart that she would never get a chance to defeat the man who killed her mother.

But the man in black had no such plans. “I would as soon destroy a stained glass window as an artist like you. However, since I can’t have you following me either...” The man in black hit Tosh over the head with the hilt of his sword. He caught her limp body and carefully lowered her to the ground. “Please understand, I hold you in the highest respect.”

*****

“I’m so glad that Auntie Tosh lived, she was so cool.” Mica said, starry-eyed.

                                                 

***** 

Chapter 3

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