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This Crying Earth - 3/17

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 Two
Masterlist

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

***
***


3.


The cells were damp and smelly. Gwen didn't like them and she tried to be down here as seldom as possible. The claustrophobic atmosphere wasn’t her only reason for avoiding the cells; she wasn’t fond of seeing the Weevils either. They stared eerily at everyone who dared visit them. Sometimes they charged towards the plexiglass wall as if they wanted to attack – their teeth in their ape-like faces bared and their claws sharp and dangerous. Sometimes they just sat in a corner, seemingly waiting – maybe for the perfect opportunity to strike. They were predators, they killed humans and Gwen didn't like them. That didn't mean that she wanted one of them to suffer.

Gwen tilted her head and looked at the Weevil they had dubbed Stuart through the transparent plastic that separated it from her and Owen.

"Why are they wearing those boiler suits?"

"What?" Owen asked, slightly distracted with rifling through his bag.

"Those blue boiler suits. Where did they get them?"

"No idea," Owen answered. "Once, we examined a suit we took off a dead Weevil. The fabric is alien, and there's a tracker sewn in on the inside. We don't have a translation for the information on the tracker, but Tosh is pretty certain it’s a bunch of numbers. Jack thinks that the Weevils broke out of a research facility of sorts and fell through the Rift. Or maybe they were sent through on purpose. Sometimes we find Weevils without suits, but most of them seem to be happy with theirs. Maybe they’ve worn them since birth. Stuart was naked when we caught it. We had a spare suit from a dead Weevil, Stuart's wearing it now."

Stuart gave one of the little moans that was part of the Weevils' vocabulary and got up to walk from one corner of the cell to the other. It was walking a bit slower than usual and immediately crouched down when it reached the corner, curling up there.

Gwen sighed. “It really seems lethargic.”

Owen snorted. "It's been here for a long time. It's getting lazy. It's time to bring it back to the sewers. With a bit of luck, his imprisonment cured him of his tendency to eat dogs and nibble on their owners."

Gwen pulled a face. "You're gross."

Owen pressed his scanner against the plastic wall and answered, "Yep." He looked at the display. "It's not a tumor. There's no illness or abnormal tissue in him." He put the scanner away. "We'll have to sedate him. I need a blood sample." He loaded his tranquilizer gun. "All of this just for a healthy Weevil," he muttered. He pushed the gun's barrel through one of the holes in the plastic wall. "That's frustrating. This job's frustrating."

"Sometimes," Gwen agreed. "When we're unable to help." She watched the tranquilizer dart embedding itself in Stuart's thigh. Stuart squeaked and threw them an accusatory glance before pulling the dart out rather clumsily.

"You mean Jasmine?" Owen asked and handed Gwen the gun.

"Yes. We could have helped her if Jack wouldn't have done what he did. I keep asking myself who he is," she said thoughtfully.

"You're not the only one." He watched Stuart. "But we shouldn't talk about this down here. He already caught us once." The Torchwood software was equipped with an IM service, which the team used to send each other messages. Gwen had only recently found out about it – and the fact that it was used to gossip. Mostly, it was just herself, Owen and Tosh. Jack and Ianto didn't join them that much. Gwen thought that they were having separate conversations the team couldn't access. Jack had the necessary admin rights to open up private chats and to catch his colleagues gossiping about his past and the photographs in Estelle's house.

Gwen glanced at the CCTV camera in the corner and whispered, "But we all know that he has to be older than seventy, right?" She hadn't dared to mention the fact that Jack couldn't die to her team mates, yet. She felt as if she would abuse his trust by doing that. Plus, it was a secret only she knew about the mysterious captain, and that made her a bit proud.

Owen readied a cannula. "Yep, he's a sexy senior citizen," he answered, a bit distracted. “Now," he said, "please make sure I don't get eaten, and stop talking about him."

"Later then, in the pub?"

"If you're paying," Owen grinned.

***

The tourist office wasn't just Torchwood's cover – maybe the others thought that way, but Ianto didn't. To him, it was a sanctuary. The others rarely came here during working hours and since only a few tourists found their way here, he'd gotten used to being alone. He liked it that way. He'd never been one for parties. He went if Lisa begged him to join her, but usually, he preferred to stay away from nightlife. Too loud, too fast and too chaotic, and since a party he'd attended as a teenager had ended with him being charged for theft, he tried to stay away.

Ianto smiled at the pizza delivery boy and locked the door to the tourist office. Then he headed downstairs with the boxes. When he entered the main Hub, Gwen and Tosh looked up from their work and Owen ran towards him. "Finally!"

He made to grab the pizza, but Ianto turned away from him. He glanced at Owen over his shoulder reprimandingly, and headed for the metal stairs. "Jack wants us to eat in the boardroom." He ascended the stairs, sure that the team would follow him. He'd ordered lunch a little later than usual on purpose. The team's hunger would be bigger than the defiance against their leader by now. He entered the boardroom and put the pizzas in the middle of the table.

Jack was already sitting at the head of the table, reading a file. "Thanks, Ianto," he said with a smile. Owen stormed into the room and dropped into one of the chairs. He grabbed one of the boxes and opened it. Ianto snapped it shut and took it away.

Owen glared at him. "Oi!"

"That's Tosh's." Ianto served Owen his box. "A second longer won't kill you." He served Tosh her meal and smiled at Gwen, who muttered “Cheers“ in his direction, already busy digging in.

Jack watched his team, threw Ianto a questioning glance, and received a shrug as answer. Ianto and Jack focussed on their lunch for a few minutes, before Jack looked at his team again. "Seriously?" he asked, shattering a quiet that had been heading towards uncomfortable. "You're not going to talk to me at all?"

Gwen looked up from her meal. "Except about work."

"I made a decision," Jack said. "A decision I hate just as much you do, but I can't undo it. Jasmine wanted to leave. There was no other way."

Gwen threw her slice back into the box. "She was a child, Jack. You sacrificed a child."

"You think that I liked doing it?"

Ianto was watching the conversation, but he didn't talk. He wasn't hungry any more, but with Jack and Owen present, he couldn't stop eating. Both of them were on his case because of his weight, so he couldn't stop halfway through his lunch.

Owen didn't seem to be interested in him, though. He was busy glaring at Jack and snorting. "You love making the hard decisions."

"Someone has to do it. Or do you want to be the one who decides between a kid and the world the next time around?"

"That's the problem. She was a kid," Owen answered. "I'm not Mr. Sensitive, but with kids, it's different. The Fairies manipulated her. She didn't really want to go with them."

Jack pushed his pizza away. "What should I have done, Owen?"

"Make the really hard decision," Owen answered. "And say no."

"What would have happened then?" Jack asked. "Tell me."

Owen shrugged. "Everything we could to avoid the next step towards a full-blown war, Jack." He got up and took his pizza. "Because that would have been the hard decision. You took the easy way out. The kid didn't matter to you." With that, he left the room. Gwen cleared her throat, got up and followed him with her box. Jack let out a breath, and leaned back in his chair. He exchanged a glance with Ianto, before he looked at Tosh, who was staring at her pizza, silent. Jack cleared his throat and asked, "What about you, Tosh?"

She raised her head hesitantly. "I think it was the wrong thing to do. If we don't stop as soon as children are at stake, what does that make us?"

Jack ducked his head. Then he got up and left the room. Ianto let the silence reign for a moment, then he asked softly, "You're being a bit unfair, don't you think?"

Tosh shrugged, looking at him. "I don't know, Ianto. You should have seen Mrs. Pierce."

"I did," he reminded her. He'd given the Retcon to Jasmine's mother and talked to her while she was sleeping, implanting the memory of the car accident that had killed her daughter and Roy. Tosh had handled the party guests. He hated doing things like that, but he knew, that it was necessary. The people didn't understand what Torchwood was dealing with on a daily basis.

Toshiko sighed. “I just think we're going too far." She got up and left.

***

When Ianto entered Jack's office, the blinds were still drawn. The team had left a while ago, but Jack didn't seem to want to to give up his isolation. For a moment, Ianto thought about opening the blinds, but he decided against it, and stopped in front of Jack's desk. The desk lamp was the only source of light and since the harsh glow of the lamps in the main Hub was filtered through the blinds, the corners of the office were inhabited by shadows. The room was mirroring Jack's mood. Ianto knew just how hard the team's mistrust was hitting him. He was pretending not to care or to want to stand his ground, but he was hurting.

Jack was sitting in his chair, staring the screen of his computer. Ianto only glanced at it for a second, but it was long enough to make out a photograph of Jasmine's family. Ianto put a thermos with coffee on the table, and checked his watch. "Is there something I can do for you before I leave, sir?"

Now, Jack slowly turned his head to look at him, and gifted him with a lopsided grin. "That's a dangerous question."

Ianto smiled nervously, stepped around the desk, and sorted through the files lying open before Jack. Some of them were missing a signature, others were ready to be filed in the archives. Ianto arranged the first group by priority, and put them down in front of Jack in a neat pile. He stuck the others under his arm to take with him. Jack took Ianto's hand and he froze. Jack's fingers curled around his tightly and Jack's thumb started drawing lazy circles on the back of Ianto's hand. Ianto swallowed and met Jack's eyes which were teasing him with a look that, not too long ago, had meant that Ianto would spend the night in the Hub. In Jack's bed.

Jack leaned back in his chair, but he didn't let go of Ianto. "Do I get some time to think about the answer?"

Ianto swallowed and pulled his hand away. "Just because you can read extra things into a question, doesn’t always mean you should."

"You're a mystery, Ianto Jones."

"And you aren't?" Ianto asked, his eyebrows raised.

Jack laughed. "I'm always telling you exactly what I want to do, Ianto." He became serious. "You're flirting and then you suddenly draw back, and it's been that way for days. I'm just trying to find the reason."

Too much, too fast, and Ianto wasn't even sure if he still wanted it. He knew – they both did -, that Ianto had developed strong feelings for Jack, but Ianto wasn't really convinced if he wasn't trying to fool himself. He'd slept with Jack to keep Lisa a secret. How could he be sure that he wasn't still trying to protect something – this time himself? Because he didn't want to leave Torchwood.

Ianto pressed the files against his chest and avoided Jack's eyes. "Would that be all, sir?"

Jack looked at him for a long time, but then he nodded. "Yes, thank you."

Relieved, Ianto headed for the door. He was almost there when Jack called him back. "You know that you can talk to me, right?"

Ianto stopped and forced a smile in his direction. "I know, Jack."

***

Claudia Meyer wasn't really listening to her husband Don, who was sitting at the kitchen table behind her, complaining about an incompetent colleague. She was focussing on the dishes, and from time to time, she would glance at her reflection in the kitchen window, behind which the shadows of the dark garden were looming. She was considering if she should dye her hair blonde. Maybe Don would then finally realize that there was more to his life than his job.

"You know, it's not as if there weren't enough others vying for his job," Don said and turned the page of the newspaper. Claudia narrowed her eyes when she thought she'd seen something moving in their garden. Don sighed. "I told Mr. Henderson that we should fire Fred, but he said that we couldn't do that, because Fred's the boss' nephew. Imagine that, and we get fired for looking at the boss the wrong way."

There was something moving in the garden. Maybe it was the Rush's cat, Claudia thought, and tilted her head. Maybe it was an animal from Roundstone Wood. Whatever it was, it was moving towards the house. Claudia's eyes widened when the shadow took on a human shape. She opened her mouth to tell Don, but when the strange woman was suddenly standing directly in front of the window, looking at Claudia, she screamed, "Police! Call the police! There's someone in our garden."

Chapter Four
Masterlist

Comments

lone_star_woman
Feb. 19th, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
Okay, I was reading that last part when a cat started meowing very loudly outside my window. I may have freaked out for a few seconds.

I am really enjoying this. I like the way you deal with the fall-out between Jack and the team after the fairies, especially the scene in the boardroom where Owen can only offer a vague alternative. With both Jack and Ianto in self-imposed isolation, it's really no wonder that Jack is reaching out to him.

Looking forward to more.
jolinarjackson
Feb. 19th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)

I thought that Ianto stayed pretty much isolated 'til the end of series one, even though his attachment to Jack grew stronger.