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This Crying Earth - 8/17

Series: Mosaic
Word Count: 40.092
Summary: Coedwig Street has been a peaceful neighbourhood for a long time but now, a mysterious being is roaming the street and gardens, scaring the families living there and getting Torchwood's attention. The team doesn't know that it's messing with a force older than Earth … and its dangerous allies. And while Gwen is having problems with Rhys and Ianto is struggling with his attraction to Jack, the Fairies don't seem to be finished with the captain, yet.
Characters: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Gwen Cooper, Toshiko Sato, Owen Harper, Rhys Williams, the Fairies, Andy Davidson, Myfanwy, OCs
Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: Everything Changes, Ghost Machine, Small Worlds, Fragments, Characters from Children of Earth (Ianto's family) / Novels: Slow Decay / Doctor Who: Mentions of The End of the World and hints at The Sound of Drums plus The Last of the Time Lords
Setting: after Small Worlds
Warnings: OC M-Preg in the past. Language.
Feedback: Can’t breathe without it.
Beta: alt_universe_me , danian  and Vistin. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Torchwood and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.

Chapter Seven
Masterlist

Remember to drop a comment at rex's LJ for the awesome art made for this story.

***
***


8.


Ianto was sitting at his desk in the neat backroom of the tourist office, typing up Owen's report on the autopsy of the dead Weevil. From time to time, he would stop the tape to take a bite of the pizza on his desk. The door to the tourist office was locked – the office was officially taking a lunch break. The morning had been quiet. Owen and Gwen had transferred some Weevils from the cells into the sewers, and now, only Stuart was their guest. In the meantime, Tosh had checked Cardiff and the surrounding area for Rift activity and told Ianto that nothing unusual was showing on her screens.

The door to the Hub opened, and Ianto leaned back in his chair to look into the office. Jack smiled at him tiredly and joined him in the backroom. He leaned against the desk and took a slice out of the pizza box. He was still wearing his coat, and Ianto assumed that he'd come here straight from the garage. The rest of the team wouldn't even know by now that he was back.

“Sir,“ he said and stopped the tape.

Jack glanced at the computer screen and frowned. “You're typing one of Owen's reports again?“

“Did you see how he does his reports? They are a disaster. I rather do it myself, and he asked nicely,“ Ianto answered. “Did you manage to take care of that personal business of yours?“ He didn't want Jack to know that he'd found out where he'd been.

Jack just kept looking at him for a few seconds, then he continued eating, swallowed and asked, “My computer screen was still on, right?“

Ianto sighed and nodded. “I switched it off.“ He pulled up his shoulders. “It wasn't my intention to spy on you.“

“I know.“ Jack shrugged. “I don't mind.“

Ianto looked at him, worried. Jack seemed tired and pale. His eyes were a bit reddened.

“Are you alright?“ Ianto asked.

Jack took a few seconds to think about it, then he nodded slowly. “Yeah.“ He gave a smile that seemed a bit forced. “Life goes on, right?“

“She meant a lot to you. We'd understand if you needed some time off. I'm sure we'll manage the rest of the day without you.“

Jack put the pizza back into the box, cleaned his hands on a napkin and used one to cradle the back of Ianto's neck. His fingers played with the short hair and he leaned down to rest his forehead against Ianto's. Ianto could feel Jack's breath on his lips, and he looked up into the blue eyes directly in front of his. They reflected the grateful smile on Jack's lips when the captain softly said, “That's not necessary. Thank you, Ianto.“ He kissed him with his mouth closed and almost chastely, but his lips remained longer than appropriate, and Ianto returned the kiss hesitantly. It was nothing compared to what they'd already done together, but it almost felt as if they were building up that intimacy from scratch, and Ianto felt his heartbeat quickening.

Jack drew back and smiled. Then he walked a few steps towards the Hub before stopping. “I'd like to take you with me tonight. I want to try if I can meet our friend again, and if it's really Welsh she's talking, then I'll need you there.“

“Gwen speaks Welsh,“ Ianto answered.

Jack shrugged. “I'm taking you.“ With that, he turned away and entered the Hub. Ianto looked after him, smiling.

***

When Jack entered the main Hub through the cog wheel door, Gwen was already waiting for him. She got up from her workstation and went towards him. "Jack."

He passed by her, heading for his office. "Did you have a good evening?" he asked. On his way, he smiled at Tosh and put a hand on Owen's shoulder, he seemed to be busy analyzing Stuart's blood.

"Are you mad at me?" Gwen asked and closed the door to Jack's office, earning herself a questioning look. Taking off his coat, he sat down and switched on his computer screen, checking his e-mails. Since there seemed to be nothing overly urgent, he turned to Gwen, who was standing in front of the desk with her hands in her jeans pockets and her shoulders pulled up.

"At you? No," he answered, leaning back in his chair. "At the fact that your boyfriend calls me in a hissy fit in the middle of the night – while I'm out investigating -, you bet I am, but I'm even angrier about the implication that I'm sleeping with you. Even more so, because I wasn't prepared for him to yell at me for something I didn't do."

"I didn't think something like that would put you off," Gwen said in surprise.

He raised his eyebrows. "I'm an open-minded person, Gwen. Present me with an open relationship, and I'm all for taking part, and I love harmless flirts, but I respect the boundaries set by a committed relationship."

She seemed surprised and bit her lip. "Sorry. I ... I didn't know that. You're always ... sorry."

Jack cursed the conventions of this century which were constantly putting a label on him just because he bragged a bit too much sometimes. There were no grey areas with these people.

He pulled a few files closer that Ianto had put on the edge of his desk. A post-it said Signature. There was another one on the file at the bottom.

Signature, but PLEASE read before signing!

He felt a smile slip out at the note. Gwen was still standing in front of his desk, unsure. Jack sighed and looked up at her. "Doesn't matter anyway – it's nothing you should be concerned about."

The door opened and Ianto entered, two mugs of coffee in his hand. He passed one to Gwen, the other to Jack. Jack gifted him with a small smile. "Thank you, Ianto," he said. The young man nodded and left.

Gwen sipped her coffee, then she hesitantly said, "I'm sorry that Rhys called you. I told him that he went too far. It'll never happen again." She turned to leave.

"Gwen," Jack said, and she stopped. "I'm sorry. I'm ... a bit on the edge today."

She turned back to face him. He sat in his chair and stared into his mug, feeling tired and sad. She came back to the desk. "Are you okay?" she asked.

He nodded and faked a smile. "It's getting better." He took a sip of his coffee and made a happy noise at the taste, then he explained, "Estelle's funeral was today."

"That's where you've been," Gwen said, perching on the edge of the desk.

"Yeah," he said.

"Are you alright?" she asked cautiously.

"Not yet." He smiled sadly and explained, "I really loved her."

"You didn't stay with her because ..."

He shook his head. "I couldn't. I had to leave two wives behind because I didn't want them to know, and I didn't want to go through that a third time. Never again." He laughed softly. "Of course, relationships with people knowing my secret aren't easier. Only, in those cases, I don't leave them – they leave me." He shook his head.

Gwen pulled one of her legs on the desk and shifted a bit to sit more comfortably. "You want to talk about it?"

"No, not really." He sighed. "Whatever you and Rhys are going through at the moment, look to it that you get back on track. It's important that you keep him around."

Gwen ducked her head, staring into her coffee. Jack watched her profile, watched her mulling over what to say next. She was a beautiful woman, strong and independent. Sometimes a bit too proud, too eager and too curious. She looked at him. "He wants us to move out and look for a new flat. He didn't come right out and say it but I think he wants a baby."

Jack was surprised, but then he smiled happily. "But that's great."

"No, it isn't. Don't say things like that, Jack." She got up and glared at him warningly. "A baby, with our job. I can't go earlier just because I have to pick the kid up from kindergarten, and I can't even promise to be there for school plays and the likes."

Jack leaned back in his chair. "Don't let that idea die just because you're scared of the future. That's so far away, Gwen. A lot of things could change by then."

She put her free hand on her hip. "What'll happen to my job if I get pregnant?"

"You'll keep it. We had pregnant agents before. Even a pregnant male colleague."

She pulled a face. "Do I want to know the details?"

"A beautiful little boy," Jack grinned. "Matthew never pushed buttons with unknown consequences again." He smiled, until he was startled to realize that he hadn't thought of Matthew in a very long time, and his face hardened. Another name on a list of people who'd meant the world to him but who'd vanished from his life – be it by death, illness or just because they wanted to. He didn't know the answer in Matthew's case. He'd rarely seen him during he last two months of his pregnancy, too busy following leads of sightings of the Doctor and helping out Torchwood Two. Matthew had just been gone one day when Jack had returned from his travels, and the baby – three months old – had been signed up for adoption. He'd never found out what had happened to Matthew or where his son was now.

"It's just," Gwen said, startling him from his thoughts, "I don't know what to do. I don't know if I even want kids anymore."

Jack massaged his forehead, chasing away the thoughts of Matthew. "Tell him," he answered.

"He won't want me to say that."

"There has to be a reason why."

"Maybe." She sighed. "Yeah. I'm sure you're right." Her gaze caught his. "Are you okay?"

He nodded bravely and put on a smile. "Yeah. I will be."

She smiled weakly and left his office. Jack stared at the door. Matthew York. One of the more tragic losses in his life. Even though he felt guilty about it, he didn't want to think of him. Not now.

***

In the evening, Jack, Tosh and Ianto gathered in the boardroom to eat Chinese take-out. Owen's cartons were untouched as of yet. He wanted to put the finishing touches on his analysis of Stuart's blood first. Jack hadn't understood what kind of problem Owen had with his first analysis but Owen had told him that he needed to do the tests again. Gwen had gone home to be with Rhys a while ago.

Thoughtful silence was hanging around the table until Tosh said, "A crying woman in a white dress. I can't imagine what we're dealing with here."

Ianto cleared his throat. "I looked through the newspaper archives. Nothing. No unresolved death around Coedwig Street. Or kidnappings. Or strange happenings."

Jack said, "We're going there later. Maybe we'll get her to talk to you."

Tosh frowned. "Do you think that's such a good idea?"

"What should we do? I don't want to shoot her. She seems to be harmless," Jack explained. "Maybe she got lost."

"Still, it's strange," Tosh said.

The door to the boardroom opened, and Owen entered. He stopped, staring at all of them gravely, and entwining his hands behind is back. He started to bop on his feet, and if Jack wouldn't know him better, he'd think that Owen was suppressing a grin. The silence stretched and everyone was looking at Owen expectantly. Owen just kept standing there until Jack told him, "You have our full attention."

Owen began to grin. "I'll need it," he answered. "Jack ... we're expecting little ones."

"But, darling ... I was always so careful," Jack grinned, and Owen rolled his eyes.

"No, seriously. Stuart's pregnant."

Silence.

Then, Ianto cleared his throat. "Pregnant?"

"It's not a male," Owen explained. "It's hard to tell with Weevils, which is why we can never be sure and just dub them whatever we can think of. We were wrong here. Stuart's a girl." He grinned. "And very pregnant."

Jack raised his eyebrows. That could prove difficult.

"How pregnant?" he asked.

"Well, on the basis of the size of Stuart's ... baby bump and assuming that Weevils carry their babies as long as humans since they are of similar build ... four or five months along." Owen sat down and started to dig in. "Tomorrow, I'll sedate it ... her and do an ultrasound."

Ianto looked at Jack. "Baby Weevils. What are we supposed to do with baby Weevils, sir?"

Tosh raised a hand. "Couldn't we just let Stuart …" She stopped and looked at Jack, who considered for a moment and then suggested, "Anita?" Everybody nodded, and Tosh finished her question, "Couldn't we just let Anita go?"

"I want to study her," Owen said. Tosh raised her eyebrows and Owen grinned. "I want to become a Weevil expert," he explained.

Jack smiled. "I bet every little boy says that."

Owen threw a chopstick at him. "Seriously," he said, "we could learn a lot about the social behaviour of Weevils. Jack, you're the one who wanted to start understanding them better."

That was right. Jack had also been the one who'd gotten rid of the former Tochwood practice of catching and shooting Weevils. He'd discovered that they were living in the sewers and only rarely ventured to the world above, and if they did, then they weren't that dangerous for humans, only if they were provoked. He'd discovered, too, that catching them was the perfect way to frighten them off. They'd never caught the same Weevil twice, as proven by the chips they'd implanted the caught Weevils with. The news seemed to spread in Weevil land, because for the most part, they stayed away. They preferred the sewers or abandoned buildings around the city and lived by eating rats.

He smiled at Owen. "You can keep her," he decided.

Owen nodded gratefully, then he said, "We'll need a bigger cell."

Ianto looked at Jack. "One level below the high security cells are some abandoned storage rooms," he explained. "I could clean them up and install thicker doors."

Tosh nodded enthusiastically. "I'll install CCTV."

Jack looked at his three colleagues and grinned brightly. "That seals it. Weevil babies. It never gets boring down here."

Chapter Nine
Masterlist

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
chironsgirl
Mar. 1st, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
Weevil babies! Maybe share a nursery with Gwen babies? Interested to see if Ianto can understand the "white lady". Very old tradition of crying ladies in white in ghost stories. Usually to commemorate some terrible sad tragic event that occurred on the site. So obviously some terrible event occurred on the site that no one knows about.
XOXOXO
lone_star_woman
Mar. 2nd, 2011 06:35 am (UTC)
Every time I read about the crying lady, I always think of La Llorona, except its the wrong continent.
jolinarjackson
Mar. 2nd, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Really? I don't know that one. (Im a fan of things like that.) What kind of myth is it? And where did it come from?
lone_star_woman
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
First of all, I'm just getting this message. What's up with that, LJ?

Anyhow, La Llorona (or "Crying Woman" in English) is a Mexican folk tale about a woman who killed her children after the children's father had left her. After killing herself, La Llorona was condemned to spend eternity wandering around looking for her children.

I heard this story as a child. I was told to be good or La Llorona would get me. Yeah, Mexicans are morbid like that.
jolinarjackson
Mar. 7th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
Interesting story. I love these legends and myths.

I heard that some poeple had problems getting their LJ messages after the last maintenance. I didn't have any problems. Kinda strange.
jolinarjackson
Mar. 2nd, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
Interesting idea. Let's see if you're right. (I'm not sure if you were the one with the Banshee idea a few chapters back, so forgive me if I repeated myself here).
jsks
Mar. 1st, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
weevil babies, bless their wee hearts, torchwood is opening a weevil creche.
jolinarjackson
Mar. 2nd, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Ianto would be thrilled. :D
milady_dragon
Mar. 1st, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
Another great chapter. Weevil babies? I'm sure they're cute until they bite your finger off as you're feeding them..*laughs*
jolinarjackson
Mar. 2nd, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
:D
Thanks.
lone_star_woman
Mar. 2nd, 2011 06:33 am (UTC)
The kiss was beautiful.

Ah, babies. Am I glad that Jack didn't tell Gwen the complete story about what happened to Matthew? It seems like such a good reason not to get pregnant.
jolinarjackson
Mar. 2nd, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :) And we're not done with memories of Matthew, yet.
punkchick1995
Mar. 3rd, 2011 11:16 am (UTC)
ooh, can't wait to see what happens when Jack and Ianto go to see the crying lady!!

Aww, Weevil babies!! I wonder if they'll be like puppies and have excess skin they have to grow into :P
jolinarjackson
Mar. 3rd, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
I bet they're really cute and a bit like toddlers. :)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )