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This Crying Earth - 4/17

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 Three
Masterlist

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

***
***


4.


Ianto tilted his head and zoomed in on the young man sitting on the steps leading down to the oval basin on Roald Dahl Plass. It was already dark outside, but the surrounding lamps and the high-quality CCTV enabled him to see the man as clearly as if he was sitting there in broad daylight. He typed a command and leaned forward on his desk in the backroom of the tourist office. He narrowed his eyes to see better.

The young man was talking to someone on his mobile, and he kept laughing about whatever the other person was telling him. He was tall, athletic and attractive. Ianto tried to imagine talking to him. He imagined going out with him, and getting to know him, followed by a coffee and more in Ianto's flat. He didn't feel a thing. Then he imagined taking Jack back to his flat, and he blushed at the thought.

He watched the young man ringing off and leaving Roald Dahl Plass. Ianto closed the CCTV and took a second to berate himself for using it that way. He closed his tired eyes, crossed his arms on the desk and rested his head on them. It couldn't be that he was only into Jack, could it? One wasn't attracted to just one man. Ianto hadn't been attracted to just Lisa. The question was what that meant for him.

Ianto didn't like the answer.

***

Andy Davidson slammed the door of his police car shut and pointed his torch at the forest. The light reached the first row of trees, then it was swallowed by the shadows. He'd always thought that Roundstone Wood was creepy. He felt almost relieved that it was being felled to make place for more houses.

"I can't believe that we're still taking calls from this area," he said to his partner Gillian, who was looking around her mistrustfully. "It's the third time this week," he added morosely, looking down Coedwig Street. Neat houses for families, right out of the catalogue. The area was populated by people of the upper middle class. He wouldn't be able to buy a house like this with his pay.

Gillian adjusted her cap, nodding in agreement. She reminded Andy of Gwen. Similar build, similar height, dark hair and green eyes. She had the same rough humor, and she didn't hesitate to let everyone know that patrol duty was only a stopover on her way to the higher pay levels, but he liked her.

Gillian sighed deeply. "It would be better if we catch her soon."

"You think that there really is someone?" Andy asked while they were slowly walking down the street. "The descriptions seemed a bit ... odd."

"I really hope you won't kill me for saying this," Gillian said, "but we're after that woman for days and we didn't even find the smallest trace of her. Maybe we should consult Torchwood. Sounds like the kind of thing they're interested in."

Andy snorted. "Torchwood," he said snidely. "My ex-partner works for them. Doesn't even know we exist any more."

"Jealous?" Gillian asked with a smile.

They heard a sob and froze.

"Hello?" Andy asked.

The icy wind carried words towards them, but they were so indistinct that they couldn't understand them. Andy stepped closer to Gillian, who had one hand on the baton in her belt. "Was that English?" Gillian asked.

"No idea," Andy answered breathlessly. He grabbed Gillian's arm when a woman appeared out of nowhere some feet away. She was standing in the middle of the street, her head ducked.

"Miss?" Andy asked. "Are you alright?"

The woman sobbed and whispered something that they couldn't understand.

Gillian asked, "Miss, do you speak our language? Can you understand us?"

Andy grimaced when the cold wind made him shiver. The whole situation was more than a bit creepy. The woman was only wearing a thin white dress, but Andy could see that the night's cold wasn't bothering her since she didn't seem to be shivering. Gillian stepped forwards, but Andy held her arm. "Are you daft?"

Gillian looked at him with a challenge in her eyes. "We're obligated to make sure that she's okay." Slowly, she made her way over to the woman. Andy cursed, then he followed her hesitantly. Gillian raised both her hands as if to calm down a horse. "Miss, my name's Gillian Ford. I'm with the police. What is your name?"

Andy swallowed nervously. The woman had skin the color of mud and she kept staring at the ground, making her dark, stringy hair hide her face. She was crying softly. Andy shook his head, and took Gillian's arm again. "I don't like this."

"Me, neither."

Suddenly, the woman stopped crying. Instead, she raised her head. When milky white eyes looking out of a wrinkled face met his, Andy stumbled backwards, startled. She had a crooked nose above thin lips seemingly devoid of blood, and her body was bent forwards slightly. One of her huge hands pointed at Andy and Gillian, before she let out a high-pitched scream that made the constables cry out in pain. Then she was gone. Andy and Gillian were panting, dazed, then Gillian hit Andy in the chest. "That wasn't human. Under no circumstances was that woman human!" She sounded panic-stricken. "I told you that we have to call Torchwood!"

***

It was Torchwood's leader who caused Andy to doubt them. Something about him was off. When he introduced himself, he made it sound like the beginning of a seduction. The long coat that – Andy had googled it – looked like one of the RAF coats out of WW2 and the braces – who the hell was wearing braces these days? - were just intensifying the mystery. And then that perfect, large smile, the eyes sparkling with superior amusement ... he was charming and attractive, Andy had to admit that much. Attractive in a way that had to involve cosmetic surgery. Attractive in a way that had women blush and men stutter nervously whenever the captain gifted them with his attention. Andy didn't like him.

To the police, Jack Harkness was bad news - officially. But Andy couldn't count the times he'd heard the female colleagues gush over Harkness.

The black Tochwood SUV stopped with squealing tires just behind the police car and Harkness jumped out of it gracefully. Gwen got out on the passenger side. Andy suppressed the smile that wanted to spread out on his face when he saw her. He was still mad at her for leaving him in the dust and getting recruited by Torchwood. Not only that: He'd asked her several times if there was a job open at Torchwood for him, only to receive a No, sorry. Not at the moment in response, and he couldn't quite believe that. He knew that, aside from Harkness and Gwen, there were only three other team members working for the institute. The unfriendly doctor, the Asian girl and a young bloke in a suit, who accompanied the team only seldom and who was always walking one step behind Harkness on the rare occasion the captain visited the police station. There just had to be a vacancy. Maybe Gwen didn't want to work with him again.

Gwen and Harkness joined Andy and Gillian who were leaning against their car. Andy nodded at Gwen, trying not to let any emotions play out on his face that would let her see that he'd missed her. "Gwen Cooper, this is Police Constable Gillian Ford."

The women nodded at each other. Harkness grinned at Gillian and offered his hand. "Captain Jack Harkness."

She accepted the handshake, blushed and smiled nervously. Andy rolled his eyes until Harkness turned his bright smile to him and took his hand. "Gwen told me so much about you, Police Constable ... Davidson was it, right?"

It sounded as if he was flirting. Andy refused to smile and just nodded sharply. Harkness stepped a bit closer and Andy pressed back against his car. Harkness' smile softened. "But she didn't tell me anything about how cute you are."

Gwen groaned in irritation. "I think that's enough," she said. Andy snatched his hand away and avoided the captain's teasingly sparkling eyes. He focussed on Gwen, who was looking at him questioningly. "What's going on here?"

Gillian answered, "We don't know, really. Everyone in the precinct knows that mysterious is your kind of thing."

Harkness raised one hand to his ear and activated the comm link that Andy noticed only now. "That's true," he answered and then he said, "Ianto, you there?"

Gwen asked, "What did you see?"

Andy looked at Gillian. He still wasn't sure if bringing in Torchwood had been a good idea. Gillian reported, "We were taking a look around the neighbourhood, because someone complained about a woman breaking into the gardens and harassing the residents."

Andy grinned crookedly. "Nothing new for Cardiff."

Gwen smiled about the old insider joke. Gillian continued, "Well, we were walking down the street. We thought that maybe there were youths climbing around on the construction machines, getting just a bit too excited."

Harkness glanced at the digger and the lorries standing next to the forest. Gillian crossed her arms. "Then we saw her. The woman."

Harkness put his hands on his hips and became serious. "How did she look?"

"Scruffy. Dark hair, strange dark skin. She ... I think she was crying."

Gwen frowned. "Crying?"

Andy added, "And she said something, but we couldn't understand her."

Every trace of flirtation had fled Harkness' face by now. "What kind of language?" he asked.

"It was indistinct ..." Andy looked at Gillian questioningly. "But it couldn't have been English."

"You got that, Ianto?" Harkness asked his comm link. After receiving an answer, he looked at Gwen. "He's researching in the data base as we speak."

Gwen turned back to Andy and Gillian. "The neighbours complained about her?"

Andy nodded. "Yeah. That's why we're here."

Harkness looked around him, and Andy noticed that his eyes kept lingering on Roundstone Wood before he looked straight at him. "Regularly?" Harkness asked. "Always around the same time of night?"

Andy shook his head.

Harkness turned away, heading back to the car. He spoke into his comm link, "What have you got, Ianto?"

Gwen smiled at Andy and Gillian. "Thanks for calling me. We're looking into it."

"Keep us in the loop," Andy said, knowing that they wouldn't. Gwen nodded, gave a short smile and followed Harkness.

***

Gwen thought that Jack's face seemed a little pale in the light of the streetlamps sliding past. He was staring at the street, his hands wound tightly around the wheel. She wondered what was going on in his head. She couldn't guess whether he knew more about this situation than he wanted to admit, and her chest tightened painfully at the thought that he was keeping something from her - again. Jack insisted that no one should keep secrets from him, but he never told anything about himself.

His soft voice startled her from her thoughts.

“I'll drop you off at your flat,“ he said.

She nodded gratefully and turned to look out of the passenger window. Rhys had been mad when her mobile had rung that late in the evening again. Even more so because she'd left him shortly after. She was sure that Jack would have preferred to take Owen or Tosh along, but Andy hadn't called him but Gwen directly. She'd been a little surprised when Jack had told her that Ianto would wait at the Hub and research their findings in the database as soon as they knew what was going on. She'd thought that he would have left already, like everyone else, but one couldn't be sure if Ianto left the base at all since coming back to work a few weeks ago.

The silence in the car was making it hard to breathe and since they were still twenty minutes away from Gwen's flat, she asked, “What do you think we're dealing with?“

“Ianto didn't find anything in our database. Could be just an echo.“ Jack's voice was business-like. Sometimes, Gwen was a bit creeped out by how not surprised he was by what they were encountering. Even Owen, Ianto and Tosh were still amazed or astonished by their cases, but Jack seemed to have lost that. Of course he was with Torchwood for a long time now, Gwen reminded herself. Nevertheless, she hoped that she would never be that dulled by the job.

She asked, “What's that?“

“Time's separated by a thin veil. Sometimes, it tears, enabling us to see something that has happened a long time ago. For just a few seconds. It's like watching the past happen all over again, but the past can't see us.“ He grinned. “People who witnessed echoes describe them as ghosts.“ He took a turn. “Echoes are always there, but not always visible. If you think that you're hearing things or seeing people that aren't there, or if you think that you aren't alone, even though you are-“

“Ghosts,“ Gwen said. “Just like with that machine a few months ago.“

“Old buildings are prone to experiencing strong echoes. They've seen so much that the veil gets tears more easily.“

“The ghosts in castles,“ Gwen said.

“Yeah,“ Jack answered. “Isn't it great what you can learn about the world while working for Torchwood?“

Chapter Five
Masterlist

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
punkchick1995
Feb. 21st, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
great update!
jolinarjackson
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
lawsontl
Feb. 21st, 2011 07:29 pm (UTC)
The only thing that disappoints me is that there isn't any more. Good visuals, good pacing, creepy with a sense of growing unease.
jolinarjackson
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) Especially for the pacing comment, since I always worry that I'm going to slow with the Mosaic stories.
jsks
Feb. 21st, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
this is becoming a very spooky doo. interesting ianto pov.
jolinarjackson
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
milady_dragon
Feb. 21st, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Great chapter. That woman is so freaking creepy...I love how you describe her.

Next chapter please? :)
jolinarjackson
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) Update will be on Wednesday.
chironsgirl
Feb. 22nd, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
I get the feeling that the woman is some kind of a banshee, or some kind of cursed hold over that is supposed to guard the forest...which is now in danger of being cut down for a new subdivision.

If you ever go to England, don't bother trying to find the famous Sherwood forest. It has long been covered over by pavement and city sprawl.

Is something gawdawful about to hppen to Gillian?
XOXOXO
jolinarjackson
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
Interesting theory you have there. Let's see if you're right. :)

A shame. Sherwood Forest was on my To See-list when I ever get around to travel in that area. :(
lone_star_woman
Feb. 22nd, 2011 06:33 am (UTC)
Great chapter. Wonderfully creepy.

And poor Andy.
jolinarjackson
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )