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This Crying Earth - 13/17

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 Twelve

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

Additional Author's Note (no explicit spoilers for the story):
Someone reviewed me in another archive, telling me that I'm going too slow with this story. Since that's something I already assumed, I think I owe you an apology.
When I created this story, Matthew was only a sub-plot I didn't pay much attention to. During the writing, he developed into part of the major plot and it took me several weeks to decide that his story can't be told in just This Crying Earth. It would've made it too long, too tricky and complicated. So, this became kind of a prequel. That may be why I'm piling up the hurt without giving much comfort, why I'm being thorough in establishing Jack and Matthew's relationship, resulting in this story being a bit slow.
I'm already half-way through writing the sequel (in German), and you can trust me that I will finish it, since I made it my habit not to post anything I'm not going to finish. In the meantime, I may need your patience and hope that the character development makes up for the lack of action, even though the next few chapters will have more of it including the end of the Banshee storyline.
Thanks, and I'm really glad that there are so many people interested in this. :)



When Tosh entered the tourist office the next day, Ianto was already standing behind the counter, sorting through the mail. She locked out the rainy morning and stepped closer. "Morning, Ianto," she smiled.

He raised his head from the letter he was reading and answered, "Good morning." He gifted her with a small smile, but it seemed tired.

Tosh put a paper cup with coffee on the counter. "For you."

He looked up and smiled. "Thank you. You didn't have to."

"No problem." It had been a while since she'd last brought Ianto coffee. On his last day before the suspension, one day after Lisa's death, she'd wanted to show him with a friendly gesture that she'd understood that they'd neglected him. He hadn't accepted the gift back then, but that had been a long time ago and much had changed. They'd become friends and as soon as those shadows left his eyes, everything would be alright again.

She leaned against the counter while Ianto removed the lid from the cup and sipped. Tosh took one of the letters that was addressed to her. "I had a visit from Gwen yesterday."

He looked at her in surprise. "Gwen?"

"Yeah. My reaction exactly." She put the letter into her jacket pocket and thumbed through one of the catalogues. "She had a fight with Rhys. Asked me all kind of questions about relationships in Torchwood." She looked at Ianto. "I think she's interested in Jack."

Ianto nodded. He'd obviously already known. Tosh wasn't surprised. He had amazing perception.

She shrugged. "I'm just saying, because ... you and Jack ..."

He shook his head and gifted her with a small smile. "There's no 'Jack and I'."

Tosh raised her eyebrows. "But I thought ... I thought you ..."

He shrugged. "I'm not sure any more." He cleared his throat. "Even if I was, there still wouldn't be a 'Jack and I'. He told me that he's not interested in something steady and I'm not either. It's too soon. I'll have to think about it."

She grabbed his hand. "Ianto," she said, "you can't be sure by thinking about it. It's not something you can analyze, Ianto, no matter how hard you try. It's something you have to feel."


Gwen knocked on Jack's office door and smiled when he turned his head to look at her. He seemed exhausted and tense. Gwen frowned, worried. "Are you okay?"

"Sure. I didn't sleep so good."

"I thought you didn't have to sleep," she smiled.

He shrugged. "I don't sleep much." He cleared his throat. "What's up?"

Gwen shoved her hands into her jeans pockets. She was embarrassed to have to apologize to Jack again. She felt as if everything was just too much for her at the moment.

"It's about yesterday."

Jack folded his hands on the table. "Okay." Expectant. Curious. Ready to forgive her.

"I was frustrated," she said. "I had a fight with Rhys and ... for a moment there, I didn't think."

Jack sighed deeply and massaged his forehead. "Gwen, I know that it's hard to lie to him, but you don't want him to know about this. I want you to have a normal life outside of Torchwood." He raised his eyebrows. "If he knew, he couldn't give that to you."

She nodded in understanding. "It's just hard," she said. "I feel like a liar."

"It won't get better if he knows."

"Sometimes, I just think that it would be easier with someone who knows."

"Maybe," Jack nodded.

"Did you have relationships like that?"

"With other Torchwood agents? Yeah."

She stepped closer to the desk, giving their talk an air of intimacy. "It's easier, right? To be able to talk about everything."

"It has its positive sides, but it can be a burden, too." He leaned on his desk. "Someone who knows too much of what you're going through every day can't possibly help you unwind in the same way somebody who has no idea can, and if you are traumatized, your partner is too, because they've seen the same."

"But that would help to overcome the trauma," she replied with a smile. She sat down and leaned on the desk to take his hand.

He pulled it away by leaning back in his chair. "But what you have is good, Gwen. Hold on to it." She stared at her hand and pulled it back to rest in her lap. She didn't know why she'd done that, why she always tried to get closer to him. She had Rhys. She was happy with Rhys, but something about Jack attracted her and made her want things that were different.

She realized that he was rejecting her and blushed. He smiled as if he knew what she was thinking, and maybe he did. "It has its good sides," he repeated, "but it's a burden." His lips thinned. "Believe me, I know."

Gwen hesitated for a moment, then she said, ”When you mentioned Matthew the other day, I … looked him up. There were photographs. You two seemed … very close.”

Jack smiled and gave a small nod. "Matthew … and others. It always shatters. One way or the other. The job's dangerous, people die or go missing. Relationships rip apart. You have to be very sure that it's worth it." He nodded at her. "Rhys is worth it."

"You don't even know him," Gwen said.

"He means that much to you that you'd risk getting fired because of him. You mean that much to him that he'd call a complete stranger to tell him to leave you alone."

Smiling, Gwen rolled her eyes.

"And that look on your face," Jack said, pointing at her, grinning crookedly, "that look ... tells me I'm right."

Gwen tilted her head. "I'd like to know ... about Matthew York," she said.

“Which photograph were you talking about?” he asked curiously.

She pulled the print-out from her jeans pocket and handed it over. Jack stared at the picture, the fingers of one hand pressed against his lips, and breathed deeply. "I almost forgot how he smiled," he muttered, his voice hoarse.

Gwen felt a bit guilty for ripping open old wounds that cut grief in Jack's face. She tried to console him, "It was seventy years ago."

"That's no excuse." He folded the picture and put it on the desk. The phone rang.

Gwen got up. "I should get to work any way."

Jack nodded. When Gwen reached the door, he called, "Hey!"

She turned back around to him.

"I know that you, Owen and Tosh are fascinated about me – who wouldn't be?" He grinned, became serious and added, "But I'm telling you those things because I trust you to keep them to yourself."

She nodded and left.


The call had come in on Gwen's mobile half an hour ago. Now Jack took a turn and braked with squealing tires in Coedwig Street. He got out and, without saying a word, passed the police line and stormed towards the forest. Owen, Gwen and Tosh got out as well, glancing questioningly at each other. Owen rolled his eyes and Gwen nodded at Tosh who started to run after Jack while she and Owen went to talk to the inspector in charge. Gwen knew Inspector Derek Myles from when she'd been a policewoman. He'd investigated the murders that had led Gwen to Torchwood in the first place. The murders Suzie had committed with the alien knife to test the glove.

Derek nodded at her and, after Gwen had introduced Owen, she asked, "Derek, what happened?"

He raised his eyebrows. "I'd like to know first what Torchwood's doing here."

Gwen glanced at Andy. He was standing a few feet away in front of a white tent, talking to Gillian. When he caught Gwen's eyes, he smiled briefly. She didn't want to tell Derek who'd called them and instead said, "We're on to something here."

Derek scoffed and shoved his hands into the pockets of his neatly pressed suit. He looked to where Jack had disappeared. "What's going on with him?"

"Just tell us what we've got here," Owen said, entering the white tent. Gwen nodded at Andy and followed Owen. She heard Derek enter behind her. She grimaced and held a hand in front of her mouth. The tent smelled terribly of burned flesh. The crime scene unit and the coroner were huddled around a black lump that must have been a human not too long ago.

Owen put down his bag. "Somebody got too close to the stove." He ignored the shocked look of the coroner and knelt next to the burned corpse.

Derek and Gwen were watching him while Derek seemed to come to terms with the fact that he would have to let Torchwood in on the investigation. "This is one of the lumberjacks responsible for the forest clearance. There are plans for new homes on this side of the street. He stayed longer yesterday to do some measurements, and this morning, his colleagues found him like this."

Owen clucked his tongue. "He's a crisp. How do you know that he's who you think he is?"

"We'll check the dental records but we're pretty sure," Derek said. He pointed at the ground around the corpse. "No sign of a fire, as you can see. Our guys from the crime scene unit told me that there's no way he was just brought here after his death. He must've died here."

"But there are no remains of a fire," Gwen nodded.

Owen raised his head to look at her. "I'll have to take him with us."

Gwen left the tent and looked around to find Jack and Tosh, but she couldn't see them. Someone put a hand on her shoulder and she turned around to Andy.

"Hi," she smiled.

"Hey!" He glanced around them, then he said, "I was right, wasn't I? This is connected to the thing we called you here for in the first place, right?"

Gwen smiled. "You did the right thing. We're looking into it."


Tosh tripped over a branch and cursed softly before gripping her bag tighter and running after Jack. She knew where he was headed and therefore wasn't all too concerned about losing him, but she didn't want him to do something stupid. When she was close to the stone circle, she heard him speak, "... you wanted. This isn't about a kid, right?"

She stopped. He was standing in the middle of the stone circle, staring into the trees. She couldn't see anything there.

"Are you doing this because of me? To punish me?" He seemed to wait for an answer. "Or for fun? Because it's too soon for you to be after another child."

Tosh whirled around when she heard the flapping of wings behind her, but there was nothing to see.

"Let the city go, let me go ... or I will stop you." With that, Jack turned around to Tosh and headed back.

When he passed by her, Tosh took his arm. "Did they threaten you?"

He stared down at her, his eyes angry and warning her not to ask. She didn't let this stop her. "Jack ... we have to know."

He turned his head away and stared at the ground. "They're only playing their sick games."

Tosh tilted her head. "Are you okay?"

He kissed her forehead. "I'm fine. Let's get back to the Hub."


When they entered the base, Ianto was waiting with a tray and four cups on it at the door. Owen was the first through, frowning angrily. "I wanted to take that corpse with me," he said, taking a mug. Jack was the next to enter and ignored Ianto and Owen on his way to his office. "Don't just run past me," Owen hissed and entered Jack's office, too. Owen slammed the door shut and a muted fight started. Ianto looked at Gwen and Tosh who'd stopped beside him.

"I see you had fun," he said.

The door opened again.

"Gwen!" Owen bellowed. "You help me. We have to go steal a corpse."

Gwen's eyes widened. "Oh, no!" she said. "I'm not stealing dead people with you."

"Well, it wouldn't be necessary," Owen said and shouted his next words in Jack's direction, "if we hadn't left as if the bloody devil was on our tails!"

Jack appeared in his door. "All of you will accompany me to Roundstone Wood tonight. We're going to talk to the Fairies. If they want to or not."

"Overtime?" Owen asked. "Perfect." He put the mug back on the tray and left the Hub. Gwen rolled her eyes at Tosh and followed him. Jack went back into his office and shut the door.

Ianto sighed deeply and Tosh nodded. "Oh, yes!"

Chapter Fourteen


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
I can understand wanting the story to pick up, but I actually enjoy the Matthew sub-plot. It's nice to read stories that dive into Jack's background. Also it helps build up the tension with everything else.
Mar. 10th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Mar. 9th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
Nothing like a little body snatching! So, the Matthew arc is going to bring on a new story....good! We'll find out what happened to Matthew and who got the baby...because you KNOW what happened to the baby is going to leave repercussions. And honestly, you can't blame the fairies for protecting their little patch of forest.
Mar. 10th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
The sequel's going to answer questions concerning Michael and Matthew and I'm actually pretty excited about it. :)
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)
I don't care how long the story takes, it's fabulous so far. Take as long as you like to tell the story your way, I know I'll come back and read every update.

Mar. 10th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
I LOVE the parts about Matthew. It's beautiful and tragic and so interesting.

This was a great chapter. I can't wait to know more about the fairies. Fantastic job!


Mar. 10th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 10th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Re: yes
You think? Thank you. :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
Hun, you're moving this along just fine! The Matthew sub-plot is lovely and now that we know there will be more, it's a definite guarantee that we'll be back to read it.

This chapter had me gripping the edge of the seat - you really have a solid grasp of the characters and their voices. Love it.
Mar. 10th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 07:22 am (UTC)
I think the character work you're doing is keeping me hooked to story so I'm not complaining that it's moving too slow.

Speaking of character work, I love the scene between Ianto and Tosh. Their friendship is just beautiful.
Mar. 10th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm a huge fan of Tosh+Ianto friendship, so they'll be BFFs in all of my stories. :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
I love this story and hon, the pace is just right. :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )