Word count: ~ 4000
Warnings: Crack. No, really, crack.
Summary: Of superheroes, villains, dastardly plots, Jack calling himself Captain Charisma, and Ianto in leather trousers.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are the property of their respective owners. I am in no way associated with the creators, and no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: This is entirely the fault of SnarkyHunter, because she is an awful, awful enabler, and an awesome, amazing reviewer, and when I offered to write her a story as thanks for the latter, her prompt was “Jack is a superhero and Ianto is his 'archnemesis.'” I didn't quite hit all the points discussed, and it turned out a bit different than I expected (really, because that's such a surprise), but it was so much fun to write Ianto as a comic book supervillain. :P
(Additionally, there are numerous references within to both TV Tropes and the many Bond movies; those who can spot them all get numerous cookies and accolades.)
Pragmatic Villainy vs. Captain Superhero: A Study
Ianto is very good at being evil.
It’s a gift, really. He’s been around the block a time or two, and he’s of above average intelligence with a very good memory, so he’s seen and learned from all the various moments of stupidity the villains before him have had. Suzie, especially, was a fan of overly complex, fairly inane schemes that hinged on a single event. And, while her various back-from-the-dead episodes were quite impressive, she was the type to kick the dog just because and set herself up for reams of bad publicity.
Ianto is quite aware of the power of the media, and just how much the average person loves a good showdown now and then when they're not in immediate danger. Dramatics are everything in this profession, but there's a fine line between a good show and card-carrying-villain-worthy stupidity.
He likes to think that he’s got a handle on it, and judging by his public image, all clues point to yes.
Even given all of this, however, there's a secret—deeply, deeply buried— part of Ianto that just thrives on theatrical evil and its trappings, especially in situations like the current one.
The cage of pale blue light stands six feet high, just tall enough that the tallest occupant has to stoop a little to avoid singing his sandy brown hair, and six feet wide, which gives the four captives enough room not to huddle in each others’ pockets, but not enough to actually have room to do anything. Ianto paces around the edges of it, trying to resist the urge to gloat with something along the lines of, “Intuitive improvisation is the secret of genius.” This isn’t A View to a Kill, and he isn’t Max Zorin.
“Do you like it, Captain?” he purrs instead, before his heavily contained Bond fanboy can run away with him. “A portable force field, capable of withstanding and containing a nuclear blast, and able to disintegrate flesh in under half a second. I had it installed just for you.”
The superhero who calls himself “Captain Charisma”—not that anyone else does; even the media has edged away from a name that corny—narrows his eyes at him through the eyeholes of his domino mask, but it’s the pretty, dark-haired woman pressed up against his side like a good damsel who opens her mouth first.
“Why are you doing this?” she asks, eyes wide and entreating. “You have so many inventions and you're so clever; why aren’t you helping people, instead of attacking them? There's always another option!”
The sharp-faced man standing as far from the others as the cell allows shoots her an incredulous look, while the lovely Japanese woman on the left drops her face into one hand with a barely-audible groan.
Ianto, by dint of sheer force of will, manages not to laugh in her face. Rather, he slowly raises an eyebrow. “Really?” he drawls. “That's your attempt to get me to see the error of my ways? Madam, I'm not in this game because I have no other choice. It’s profitable. There are none of those pesky little taxes or fees, rules or regulation. And it’s enjoyable to have the world at my fingertips, poised for a takeover if I just wanted to put the effort behind it.” He smiles pleasantly and comes to a halt in front of the Captain. “And you, sir? Care to join me? I could always use a reliable right hand, and no one’s more trustworthy than an honest man.”
The Captain grins at him then, bright white and nearly blinding. “Thanks, but no thanks,” he says easily. “I don't look so good in black.”
Ianto sighs theatrically, pressing a hand to his chest. “Ah, well. I suppose I've tried, but you're incorruptible, it seems. Very well, then, Captain. We must do this again sometime.” With a nod, he turns on his heel and heads for the warehouse doors.
“Wait!” the sharp-faced man demands, and Ianto glances back to see…the Captain jerking his gaze up guiltily from where Ianto’s leather trousers are clinging just a bit too tightly? Hmm. Now there's an interesting thought.
“Yes?” he asks politely, because he might be evil, but that doesn't mean that he’s rude.
The man makes a face at him, gesturing to the force field trapping them. “You're not going to kill us? Just leave us here?” He sounds insulted at the mere thought.
Ianto favors him with an amused smile. “Believe me, sir. If I’d wanted you dead, you already would be. I just need you…out of the way for the next few hours, so my plan can come to fruition in peace. Good day.” He nods again and saunters out, making sure to put an extra bit of sway in his steps.
Behind him, he can practically hear the Captain all but swallow his tongue.
There's a police car parked a little ways outside the warehouse, next to Ianto’s sleek grey Audi A4—no matter what the Captain seems to think, evil is hardly a monochromatic occupation, and it certainly has its perks. The officer leaning against the car is tall and lanky, with scruffy blond hair and a neon rain slicker. He looks up as Ianto strides over and pushes his cap back a bit.
“It’s done, then?” he asks cheerfully.
“Yes.” Ianto nods, leaning against his own car and checking his watch. “In about fifteen minutes, by my estimation, they'll overload the force field generator with the Captain’s Vortex Manipulator, which will send a surge of energy into my main system and give me enough power to short out the security of the First Bank Secure Archives. Simple, in the end. And if they don't, I’ll have time to reroute sufficient power from Cardiff’s grid, and the Captain and his merry band will be out of my way.”
PC Andy Davidson chuckles and opens the door of the Audi for Ianto. “Brilliant,” he offers as Ianto slides into the seat. “Well, I’ll go take care of things at the police end. Drive safely, sir.”
“Always.” Ianto smiles and starts the engine. “Triggers are in place for half the burglary alarms in the city. So long as you bury the one from the Archives, no one will know until it’s far too late.”
Andy nods and steps back, but a flicker of worry crosses his face. “Mr. Jones, you didn't tell them any of your plan, did you?”
Ianto scoffs. “Hardly. I'm not some two-bit Dr. No hopeful, Andy. They're just as much in the dark as everyone else. Maybe more so.”
With a grin, Andy touches the brim of his hat in salute and steps back. “Of course, Mr. Jones. Sorry I asked. We still on for coffee tomorrow?”
“I’ll drop some off at the station, along with your consulting fee,” Ianto promises, pulling his door closed. Andy waves as he pulls out, and Ianto allows himself a slow smile.
The Captain will overload the generator, Ianto will steal all the codes to the largest banking system in the UK, and no one will be the wiser.
Yes, Ianto is very good at being evil, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
“Well, that was an unmitigated disaster,” Owen says with manic cheer as he sits in their secret base, the Hub, watching a senior banking official nearly crying into the collar of the reporter interviewing him. “And we never learned a single bloody thing about the bastard.”
“I wouldn't say that,” Tosh cuts in mildly. “Now we know he’s very good at Xanatos Gambits, and that he’s pragmatically evil, rather than stupidly so.”
“Oh, yes,” Owen shoots back, “because that's going to help us catch him. We’ll post an add in the personals, ‘seeking: one supervillain, affably evil, madmen and the straightforward need not apply.’ That’ll bring him running.”
Tosh rolls her eyes at him. “Doubtful. He’s probably got girls falling all over themselves to get to him. Or men, if he swings that way. Did you not see his arse? Those trousers?”
“Mm-hm,” Jack cuts in dreamily. “Oh, yeah, did I ever. Yum.”
Owen gives him the evil eye. “You call yourself Captain Charisma. Your taste is less than suspect; it’s nonexistent.”
“But I am charismatic!” Jack protests; it’s not the first time they've had this argument. “Why not play to my strengths?”
“Because it does rather sound like something a sex-obsessed preteen would come up with, Jack,” Gwen offers apologetically. “Sorry.”
Tosh, on the other hand, is far less apologetic about it. “Even the media won't call you that. This is the same station that ran ‘STATISTICS SHOW TEEN PREGNANCY DROPS OFF SIGNIFICANTLY AFTER 25’ as a nightly news story.”
“You're all awful and I hate you,” Jack informs them. “Maybe I should have taken the villain up on his offer.” He hesitates. “What’s he calling himself, but the way?”
“Jones, as far as I can find,” Tosh answers, spinning back to her computer. “Mr. Jones, which has to be cover name—there must be thousands of Joneses in Wales alone. But—”
Owen turns the television’s volume up and drowns her out just in time for them to hear, “—seems as though the Black King has struck again, this time taking billions of dollars from highly-placed bank officials. Right now, there's one question on everyone’s lips: where was Cardiff’s own superhero, the Captain?”
The sound fades away, and Tosh winces a little. “Yeah. The Black King. That's what they've taken to calling him, ever since that encounter in the park. Though some of the papers call him the Chess Master.”
“The park,” Owen tells Jack sharply, “was entirely your fault, by the way.”
“And what about this time?” Jack snapped. “The cage that could disintegrate flesh in under half a second was also my fault?”
“The part where you were so certain the warehouse was the Jones’ base that we ran in blindly? Yeah, I’d say that part was your fault too.”
“Boys!” Gwen cuts in. “Pointing fingers isn’t helping us find him. What do we know right now? Let’s think like the police.”
Owen scoffs, but settles back in his chair and turns to his computer. “Because they're doing so well catching Jones on their own,” he mocks.
Other than a quick roll of her eyes, Tosh ignores him. “What he’s after might be a good place to start. I'm calling up a list of all the things we know he’s done since he stopped operating underground eleven months ago. On the screen.” She points to the large television screen hanging above them, restraining another eye roll—it’s only the second time they've used it for actual crime fighting; Jack and Owen tend to invade the conference room and use it to watch football and rugby on a far more regular basis.
Jack frowns a little, staring at the neat—short—list. “Bring up all the unclaimed incidents in the last year,” he orders. “Put them side by side. Which match his MO, even if he didn't take credit for them?”
That list is significantly longer, and Jack nods to himself. “All right,” he murmurs. “Now, what’s he doing? Why these crimes?”
Drumming her fingers on her desk, Gwen considers. “He said being evil was profitable,” she points out. “Maybe he’s just in it for the money?”
“Doubtful,” Tosh cuts in. “He’s brilliant, from what we’ve seen, and manipulative. Everything he says should be suspect. I don't doubt that the money’s a nice perk, but I’d be surprised if it was his only motive.”
“Right.” Owen gestures at the screen. “Look there. Bank codes, master keys to half the safe deposit boxes in the country, security software with backdoors into a good percentage of the world’s systems, microchip technology that's practically inaccessible and worth a fortune on the black market—my psych classes might have been a long time ago, but I’d say he’s in it for the power just as much as the money.”
“I don't know,” Gwen says doubtfully. “He doesn't seem the type to be planning world domination.”
Jack nods slowly in agreement. “Right, and I agree with you, but then what’s his end goal? And do we even know if he’s got any special abilities? Most supervillains do, but I haven’t seen him do anything more out of the ordinary than run circles around us with his brain.”
Somewhere above the Hub, a doorbell chimes, and a young woman’s voice calls, “Pizza delivery for, er, Captain Charisma?”
As one, they all turn to look at Owen, who rolls his eyes and climbs to his feet. “Uh, yeah. That would be my fault. Sorry, I'm a twat.”
Ianto’s secret villainous base can hardly be termed such—it’s a nice, airy, modern penthouse with lots of windows and clean lines. He owns the entire building, really, but it’s much more convenient to rent out the lower floors and keep the upper ones for himself in the name of planning and enacting his villainous schemes.
(The whole thing was Suzie’s, once, before he overthrew her and made sure her next death would stick, but Ianto’s never been one to waste the resources available to him. He’s made it his own now, in any case.)
Besides, this way there's plenty of room for Myfanwy.
“Hungry, my dear?” Ianto asks, stroking her beak as she butts at him gently. “Soon, lovely, just a few more minutes and you can have as much as you’d like.”
Myfanwy’s nest is built in the penthouse’s loft, with French doors that open out onto a wide balcony overlooking the city. Ianto has the entire thing rigged with cameras, mirrors, and projectors so that no one looking will see anything, and Myfanwy tends to stay quiet unless she’s quite upset.
In the distance, an explosion rocks the city, and Ianto rises to his feet, settling his domino mask—silver and black, because while Ianto is practical and sensible, he does have a fairly strong dramatic streak buried beneath his pragmatism, and with the media calling him the Black King it’s a little too hard to resist—on his face with the aid of spirit gum. His trusty stun gun—and anyone who thinks that's not an evil man’s weapon has never gotten 50,000 volts to the chest—goes in its easily accessible holster, and a knife goes in his boot—just a precaution, because having a knife handy is always a good idea, no matter how the deck is stacked in his favor.
Then he strides up to the French doors and throws them open, stepping outside and right up next to the gap in the balcony’s railing.
“All right, Myfanwy,” he says softy. “Time to play. Go fetch me a Captain.”
The pteranodon lets out a shriek of joy and plunges forward, swooping away from the building and winging towards the source of the explosion. As soon as she’s out of sight, Ianto takes his private elevator down to the street, where his car waits in the alley. He’s got a scene to set, and roughly an hour to do it before Myfanwy returns with the Captain.
The pterodactyl comes out of nowhere.
And yes, Jack is entirely aware of how ridiculous that sentence sounds, but in his defense, it’s the fault of this new villain for having pterodactyl minions in the first place. All the other villains who try to invade, destroy, and/or take over Cardiff tend to stick with the more common burly criminal type when they're in need of drones.
Anyway, the pterodactyl comes out of nowhere just as Jack deposits the last little girl on the ground, having rescued her from the burning building. The fire was clearly set with intent, though Jack can't quite imagine the aim, as the exits were left clear and no one was in immediate danger.
Then the pterodactyl swoops down out of the smoky air, green-brown traced with red, and seizes Jack by the shoulders before he can so much as dive out of the way. He yelps—a manly yelp, of course—and tries to jerk away, to reach his gun, but the creature’s grip is too tight. It shrieks, sounding pleased, and beats its wings hard, lifting Jack right off the ground. Within moments, they're airborne, high above the city, and Jack can only cling on for dear life—not that the fall will kill him, but it will hurt like blazes and be very messy, and he likes this coat.
The purpose of the fire is clear now; it was a trap to lure him out into the open, since he couldn't exactly stand by when people were in danger. Even as the pterodactyl starts to descend, Jack curses his heroic instincts, drilled into him by the superhero’s superhero, the Doctor.
Their destination appears to be yet another abandoned warehouse by the docks, one with a large hole cut into the roof to make for easy landing for pterodactyl minions. The creature’s wings just barely clip the edges as it drops down, shrieking with delight at the sight of the man waiting for them. The grip it has on Jack abruptly loosens, and he goes tumbling to the concrete, where a pair of burly thugs—much more like the traditional villainous henchmen—grab him and quickly tie him to a metal chair.
The Black King—or Jones, or whatever other ridiculous thing he’s calling himself, not that Jack has much room to talk—doesn't even look at him. Rather, he focuses on the pterodactyl as it drops to all fours in front of him, oddly graceful when Jack had thought it would move with more of a waddle. Jones reaches up to rubs its crest, murmuring softly to it, and it butts its beak against his chest, insistent. With a chuckle, Jones pulls something that looks suspiciously like a bar of dark chocolate out of his pocket and breaks it into pieces, tossing the chunks into the air one at a time. The pterodactyl catches each one cheerfully, and then stumps off towards a nest of straw and plant matter in the corner. Jones watches it go with a fond look visible around the mask, before he turns to Jack.
“Ah, Captain,” he says, as though Jack's presence is a surprise. “How kind of you to join me again.”
“Because your pet pterodactyl gave me so much choice in the matter,” Jack answers dryly. “What do you want with me, Jones?”
Jones makes a quick gesture with one hand, and the thugs fade away into the shadows. “Pteranodon, please,” he says, smiling charmingly. “Incorrect terminology makes her cranky. But isn’t she lovely? My old boss had her cloned and then genetically modified in her labs. Myfanwy is three times the size of the average female pteranodon, and capable of carrying a grown man’s weight for miles. Or other items, I suppose.”
Jack latches on to that tiny bit of personal information, the first he’s gotten. “Your old boss? Does she know what you're doing with her creation?”
Jones favors him with an amused lift of one brow. “No, most likely not, given that she’s been dead for several years already. I've assumed control in her place, and I’d like to think that I'm taking the organization in a new and improved direction. What would you say, Captain?”
Jack's mind is already racing, trying to call up the names of female villains he used to face but hasn't seen in several years. Villainy seems to have a fairly high turnover rate, though, and there's quite the list. That's just the ones he can think of, too. Tosh will doubtless have more, if they find him.
When they find him.
“So what's all this about, Jones?” Jack asks, settling back in the chair and discreetly testing his bonds. The henchmen seem to know their way around a knot, though, because nothing’s budging. “You want the entry codes to my secret base? You expect me to talk?”
“No, Captain, I expect you to die.”
There's a long moment of silence—stunned and a little horrified, on Jack's part, at least—before it’s broken by badly muffled snickers. Jack blinks, realizes just what it was he heard, and glares with all the wounded dignity he can muster at Jones, who’s trying to smother his laughter with a hand.
“Sorry, sorry,” he gasps, “it was just such a perfect moment, and you just handed me that line. Sorry, couldn't resist!”
“You,” Jack informs him darkly, “are awful.”
“Supervillain,” Jones reminds him cheerfully, getting his laughter under control. “And, Bond jokes notwithstanding, this isn’t a cheesy action flick, Captain, and I'm hardly going to challenge you to a duel with my golden gun, or set up a base of operations on the moon. I'm also not going to spill every last detail of my dastardly plot so that you can immediately run and stop me. Think of this as…a courtesy call, to let you know that I'm in business, and if you don't get out of my way…”
“You'll kill me?” Jack drawls, tensing in his bonds. He’s familiar with this part of the process; the villain warns him off, he refuses, the villain attempts to recruit him again, he refuses, the villain leaves him in some elaborate but escapable deathtrap and goes about his business under the assumption that Jack is dead, allowing Jack the element of surprise when he and his team show up to avert a convoluted attempt at world domination.
Therefore, it’s a complete shock when Jones gets up from his chair and saunters over to Jack, then promptly straddles Jack's legs and drops into his lap.
“Hardly,” Jones purrs, and wow, those leather trousers don't hide anything. Jack can quite clearly tell that Jones doesn't have so much as a quarter in his pocket. He leans forward, pale blue eyes brilliant and burning through his black and silver domino, until his breath is just brushing Jack's lips. “My ex-employer had quite the extensive file on you, Captain. I'm aware that death, in your case, seems to be rather less than permanent. I'm not one to waste resources, so this is simply a warning. I have a plan, and if you get in the way of it, I might just have to get…creative.”
The last word is spoken right up against Jack's lips, close enough to call a kiss, and sends a thousand sparks shooting right to Jack's brain. He sucks in a breath, but before he can do anything—kiss Jones back, likely, since Jack's never been one to resist that much pretty in one package, especially when it’s perched so temptingly on his lap—Jones is gone, hips swaying temptingly as he strides out of the warehouse with the pteranodon following obediently.
Jack stares after that perfect, bitable, leather-encased ass long past the point he should turn his attention to getting free.
Supervillain, he reminds himself sternly. Supervillain with unknown aims, possibly trying to take over the world.
Somehow, that isn’t nearly the deterrent it should be.