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This Crying Earth - 10/17

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 Nine
Masterlist

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

***
***


10.


When Ianto entered Jack's office, Jack had finished his phone call and was doing his paper work.

“Jack,“ Ianto said, holding up Matthew's file.

Jack raised his head, smiled gratefully and took it from him. “You were gone for quite a while.“

“Yes,“ Ianto answered. He scrutinized Jack's face for a moment, tempted to talk with him about what he'd found, but he decided against it. He wanted to read the files first, get an impression of who they were dealing with.

He straightened the knot of his tie and said, “The woman in Coedwig Street … I had an idea while I was downstairs and I think I know what we're dealing with.“

Surprised, Jack raised his eyebrows. “Seriously? Why didn't you say so immediately?“

“I'm sorry. I … I asked Tosh to check up on something for me, but we're fairly sure now that I'm right.“ He shoved his hands into his trouser pockets. “She's getting the boardroom ready.“

“Good.“ Jack put Matthew's file in his desk drawer. Ianto's eyes stared at the back of the desk, right where the drawer was and Jack frowned. “Ianto?“

Ianto looked up at him. He felt as if he'd walked into the archives more naive than he came back, and thousands of questions were burning on his tongue. Normally, he would hold back. He knew that Jack would only talk about himself if he wanted to, but Jack's secrets seemed to be way bigger than Ianto would have ever thought possible, and he didn't want to miss the chance to shed some light in the darkness that was Jack Harkness' past. Until now, he'd discouraged the team's curiosity since he knew that Jack didn't like to be pressured, but he couldn't stop himself from wanting to ask the same questions.

He decided on one that seemed harmless enough, but would possibly open a few doors to Jack's secrets. “Why are you so interested in that file?“ he asked. “Matthew York? He went missing over seventy years ago.“

Jack's face hardened and he closed the drawer. He didn't answer, but he stared at Ianto until he ducked his head. “I'm sorry, sir. I …“

When he passed him on his way out of the office, Jack's hand squeezed Ianto's shoulder briefly. “Don't worry about it,“ he said. Ianto thought of the files he'd hidden in the drawer of his desk in the backroom of the tourist office. He planned on taking them home to study them. There, he didn't have to worry about Jack coming by and finding out what he was doing. He was about to betray Jack's trust. Ianto had promised himself never to lie to Jack again, but he couldn't help but wonder who the man was he was trusting so much.

Ianto took a deep breath and followed the others to the boardroom.

***

Owen propped his head up on one hand and sighed in irritation. “Are you kidding?“ he asked. “We search for clues, interview the witnesses and burrow through the archives and all Ianto has to do is use Google?“

Jack leaned on the conference table. “Well, actually,“ he said, smiling at Ianto, “you weren't the one burrowing through the archives, that was Ianto.“

Owen narrowed his eyes. His gaze found Ianto who was sitting on Jack's right. Even though his face was as impassive as ever, Owen could see that he was nervous, because Ianto kept straightening a dog-ear on the paper lying before him with his thumb. Sometimes, Owen didn't know what to think of Ianto's obsession with order and perfection. During Ianto's suspension, Owen had been to his flat more than once. It had looked like it had come right out of a catalogue. Even the personal items – books, DVDs and photographs – had been distributed throughout the flat as if there was some kind of pattern behind it. Owen was the last person to say that his flat was cosy. He only bought what he needed and his telly was still standing on a packing case, not on an appropriate table, but his flat felt lived-in. There were clothes hanging over furniture, pictures on his fridge and he only cleaned up when he was really bored. He told himself not to worry about it. It was Ianto's flat and his obsession made him so good at his job, but Owen couldn't shake the feeling that there was more behind it than met the eye.

Ianto's voice startled him out of his thoughts, “And it wasn't Google, it was Wikipedia.“

“Wikipedia,“ Owen echoed.

Ianto ensured with a glance that the dog-ear was now, in fact, gone. “The Welsh version.“

“There's a Welsh version?“

Ianto tilted his head and looked at Owen as if he felt bored that he always had to explain everything to him. In a neutral tone, he said, “There's a Wikipedia version for almost every language.“

Getting impatient, Gwen raised her hand. “Back to topic, please?“

Owen turned to Tosh and whispered, “Who reads a Welsh Wikipedia?“

“Owen,“ Jack said and he fell silent.

Jack nodded at Ianto and he cleared his throat. He nestled at the knot of his tie and straightened his shoulders. “Fy mlentyn, fy mlentyn bach,“ he said. “That's what she said. I used it as a search term. It means 'My child, my little child' and it's a cry of grief belonging to the Gwrach-Y-Rhibyn.“

Gwen gasped. “Creepy,“ she said. “My grandmother told me about them. They can predict death, right?“

“They are ghosts, evil ghosts. They appear as old ugly women and are a sign of approaching death. Allegedly, they haunt old Welsh families, and appear whenever someone's about to die. They grieve for men and children. Sometimes, the name of the doomed person can be heard.“

Owen pulled a face. “That's so Supernatural.“

Ianto ignored him. “There are beings like Gwrach-Y-Rhibyn all over the world. They are also called Hag, in Scotland, they are known as Bean Shith, in Germany as Sabberhexe and so on. Most of the time, her cry of grief is to be heard near the family's house, but there also legends that report her to be sitting at nearby streams, washing bloody clothes. The most important reference to us is the Irish Banshee.“ He looked at Jack. “You won't like this.“

Jack folded his hands. “I'm not exactly thrilled right now.“

Ianto cleared his throat. “The word Banshee originated in the Irish-Gaelic word Bean Si, which means 'ghost woman' or … 'woman of the Fairies'.“

Gwen looked at Jack. “The Fairies?“ she asked. “I thought we got rid of them.“

Tosh answered, “Unfortunately, no. Ianto asked me to scan the neighbourhood again. No Rift energy, but there are small weather patterns that stood out. They are only tiny and they happen at night. Strong winds. Not as strong as when they attacked a few days ago, so I didn't see the connection sooner.“

Jack's face had hardened and he was staring at the table. Gwen looked at him questioningly. “What are we going to do?“

Jack got up. “We're making a trip into the forest tonight. We won't find them right now, but we may have a chance at night. Until then, we prepare ourselves. Tosh, take the last three days. I want a list of the weather patterns and find out if Coedwig Street is the only street we have to deal with. Owen, check the medical files on the residents. I want to know everything. Illnesses, allergies … the children are a matter of priority. Somebody will die and I want to know who it could be before it happens. Gwen, help him. Ianto, good job. Write up a report for me and one for the archives and keep looking for more clues as to who that woman is – where did she appear the last time? Who died?“

Ianto nodded and the team got to work.

***

Matthew

Gwen pressed enter. While the computer was searching, she let her eyes stray through the main Hub. Owen was taking a break after he and Gwen had looked through all of the medical files – without success. Tosh was still doing her analysis and Jack was in his office.

Her computer uttered a short peep. Many hits but only one of the men had been a Torchwood employee. Matthew York. She clicked on the name, but the database informed her that the file hadn't been entered into the system yet. Pensive, she propped her head up on one hand and opened the picture archive. Tosh had told Gwen that she hadn't had her own projects in her first weeks at Torchwood and that she'd taken over the task of organizing the picture archive instead. She was nearly done with it by now and Ianto was using it to link the files he entered with the appropriate pictures. Gwen thought that their work was fantastic. The database was huge and well organized and every file had a printed counterpart in the basement, just in case.

She typed Matthew York and got one hit. An old photograph. Jack was the first who caught her eye. It was strange that she could still be surprised about his face on a picture from 1931, even more so, since he'd practically confided to her that he'd lived at that time. He'd told her the story about him and Estelle. Gwen wondered how many more friends and lovers he'd lost over time. On this picture, he was grinning into the camera, his coat looking like it did today, just like the shirt and the braces … as if he'd been photoshopped into this picture later on. Gwen scanned the names under the photograph and found Matthew York standing next to Jack. Young, cute, a shy smile on his lips. Jack's hand was on his shoulder. Gwen didn't know if she was imagining it, but she thought that she could see something between the two men. A connection. Could Matthew be just another conquest of Jack's?

She printed the picture out.

“What are you doing?“ Ianto asked and Gwen startled.

She turned around to face him. “God, Ianto! You scared me.“ She let out a nervous laugh. He handed her a mug with coffee and nodded insistently towards the print-out. Gwen held it up. “Notice something weird?“ Gwen was surprised. After the thing with Lisa, she'd thought that Ianto was a better actor, but apparently only when his life was on the line. He didn't seem surprised at all to see Jack in the picture, but he made a pathetic try at seeming to be. She laughed. “Try again. How long have you known?“ Gwen asked.

Ianto sighed. “I found files in the archives. Jack is … really interesting.“

“So, he didn't just fall through the Rift,“ Gwen said.

Ianto frowned. “What?“

She shook her head. “Just a theory Tosh and Suzie had – doesn't matter.“ She stared at the picture. “He really is that old.“ She slid her chair closer to Ianto, and he leaned against the desk. Gwen lowered her voice, not wanting to let Owen and Tosh in on their conversation. “He told me that he and Estelle were a couple. I saw old photographs in Estelle's house – of him. At first, he tried to stall me, telling me that his father was her boyfriend, but no son looks that much like his father. He told me the truth.“ She looked up at Ianto. “He can't die.“ She noticed that Ianto was really surprised. “I saw him getting shot – by Suzie – and he just stood up again.“

“That makes sense,“ he said. “How else could he live so long without … a safety net and without getting older.“ He took the print-out and folded it. “Gwen, don't tell the others.“

“I won't,“ she answered.

He looked at her with a frown. “I'm not deaf. I heard you talking. All that gossiping about Jack's past … you won't tell them, but I think they'll find this picture by accident, won't they?“

Gwen crossed her arms and stared at him defiantly. “Ianto, he has no right to keep something that important from us.“

“He has every right. It's his life.“

“Ianto-“

“It's got nothing,“ he shook his head, “absolutely nothing to do with our work. Wherever he came from or how old he is … it doesn't concern us. That he can't die is his secret to tell. It doesn't stop him from doing his job. On the contrary, I think he can risk more than all of us together and he does so. If you force him to talk about it by telling the others … that wouldn't be fair.“

“Aren't you curious, Ianto?“ Gwen asked. “Don't you want to know?“

He smiled weakly. “Of course, but he's going to tell us when he's ready.“ Ianto stared at her earnestly. “I saw the files, and believe me, I wanted to read them. I was determined to read them, but I won't. It would betray his trust. No matter if he knows or if he doesn't.“ He sighed and handed her the picture. “I can't stop you, Gwen, but … think about it.“

***

“Sir?“

Jack looked up from Matthew's file and at Ianto who was standing in his office door. He was holding a pile of files and walked towards Jack. Jack closed Matthew's file and put it in the drawer. “Ianto,“ he smiled. “You were here only ten minutes ago to bring me coffee.“

Ianto glanced meaningfully at the empty mug. “I see that you needed it.“ Ianto was nervous. He didn't show it, but Jack could feel it. He wondered what could be wrong and contemplated asking Ianto, but then he decided against it. It was Ianto's decision to talk to him.

So he just smiled. “What've you got?“

“The report,“ Ianto said, handing Jack one of the files. He breathed in deeply before he added, “And these.“

Jack took the files automatically when Ianto handed them over and only after a second, he realized what he was holding.

Harkness, Jack, Captain

He stared at the cover of the folder on the top and swallowed. He'd forgotten about those. Ianto had mentioned once that he was making the personnel files the lowest priority, and Jack had hoped that he would have enough time to explain this. There had been the slim chance that he never would have to.

“I shouldn't have asked you for Matthew's file,“ he said.

Ianto folded his hands on his back as if he was embarrassed. “It would have taken me another year to find those.“

Jack put both hands on the files and raised his head. “Ianto-“

“Gwen knows.“ Ianto stared at him.

“Of course. She saw me ...“ He stopped, wondering how much Ianto really knew about this.

“Die?“

Jack nodded slowly and leaned back in his chair. He turned the chair in Ianto's direction, and the other man seemed to take this as confirmation that they were going to have a talk. He leaned against the desk and braced both his hands against the wood. Jack sighed loudly. “Did you read them?“

Ianto shook his head before ducking it. “I wanted to but ...“ He hesitated.

Jack took his hand. “Thank you,“ he said earnestly. It meant a lot to him that Ianto was giving him the files. Even more so, because Ianto wasn't going to read them. Not everything in them was nice, and the early files even classified him as dangerous and not to be trusted.

“Jack, the team … Gwen knows and she thinks that Owen and Tosh should, too. They talk.“

“I know. I caught them writing IMs.“ He smiled, then he became serious again. “You think I should tell them?“

Ianto sighed deeply. “It's your decision.“

Jack tilted his head and said, “Tell me what you think.“ Ianto shook his head, and Jack's grip around his hand tightened. “Ianto.“

Ianto rolled his eyes. “I think there's no way you can keep it a secret.“

Jack sighed. “I think so, too.“ He let go of Ianto, who smiled.

Ianto headed for the door. At the door, he stopped. “Jack,“ he said, turning back around. Jack looked at him questioningly. Ianto said, “I won't ask, but if you want to talk ...“

Jack smiled. “Thank you, Ianto.“

Chapter Eleven
Masterlist

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
punkchick1995
Mar. 5th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
ooh... the fairies!! can't wait to see what happens when they find them :) xx
jolinarjackson
Mar. 6th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
You'll see. :)
lazy_8s
Mar. 5th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC)

Another great chapter! The Fairies appear be making a return. Also, Ianto decided not to delve further into Jack's past and tell him the truth. Could this be beginning of the great Janto relationship? :)
jolinarjackson
Mar. 6th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
I think a lot of Jack and Ianto's relationship has to do with the fact that they don't pry into each other's past and feelings. At least in the beginning.
milady_dragon
Mar. 5th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)
Another great chapter. I was wondering if what was going on wasn't connected with the fairies.

And Ianto talking to Gwen and then giving Jack those files...I do hope this is the beginning of them fixing their relationship.
jolinarjackson
Mar. 6th, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
chironsgirl
Mar. 6th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Well I had the wrong angle. If this is fairy connected the whole neighbourhood is in danger. She has appeared to a lot of people. They are all potential victims. How will Jack buy them off?
XOXOXO
jolinarjackson
Mar. 6th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
She has pretty much appeared to everyone. I just focussed on a few people for the story. :) So yes, the whole neighbourhood.
usakiwigirl
Mar. 6th, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
Oh, this just keeps getting better and better! The only question I have at this point is why did Gwen find Matthew's name? How? Did I miss a clue somewhere? Help!
jolinarjackson
Mar. 6th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
And you problably just missed a small clue in Chapter Eight:
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 said his name. The PC in Gwen remembered it.
lone_star_woman
Mar. 6th, 2011 07:31 am (UTC)
Wonderful chapter. I'm glad that Ianto chose to respect Jack's privacy.
jolinarjackson
Mar. 6th, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
fide_et_spe
Mar. 6th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
I hadn't thought of the fairies, of course. What a scary legend. I did laugh that he got the information from Wikipedia.

This is such a great story.
jolinarjackson
Mar. 7th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Wikipedia is a great resource. I got the information from there, so I thought, "why not?" ;)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )