long time no write. It would be longer if I hadn't seen this one message about Torchwood. They're going worldwide and there are theoretically some new characters (not from an official source but many people say it's true). So yes, considering Torchwood is my favorite TV show EVER and my favorite character [SPOILER] died in the last series I'm pretty pissed off. I don't normally use this kind of language but I'm half depressed some times whenever it comes to Torchwood cause I really love Ianto and whenever I think that I won't ever see him in Torchwood again I'm really angry. Plus, CIA agents? Who the hell would do something so american to a british show (I've got nothing against america, cia whatsoever I just think that going worldwide with Torchwood is going to ruin the whole climate of Cardiff based-Torchwood 3 cause it's nice as it is with the not-so-big-city and a place that let's face it is not the centre of the world). It's going a bit too far I think.
So anyways, back in autumn I wrote this fanfiction. Never finished the whole thing but I've got it all planned out so I believe it's high time to go to work. It's like a Torchwood series I hope. And Ianto comes back to life (with a decent explanation as well). And another great character comes back to life as well.
Right, too much speaking and too little concretes. This is the first part. It's gonna be continued. I've got three parts ready and I'm going seriously to work on it. (my main reason being stuck is that my proof reader is so lazy she won't even take a minute for a short story of mine).
Long live Ianto Jones!
The man woke up breathing heavily. Both his head and his heart were pounding from the shock. He felt his blood trying its best to make way through his veins, as if for the first time. He thought they'd explode any second now. He took a deep breath just to find out that he had very little oxygen to breath. He tried looking around but it was pitch dark, he couldn't even see the tip of his nose. He felt his surroundings and he was sure he was trapped in a box of some sort. Above him there was wood and he was lying on a soft, silky pillow of some sort. He had a suit on him and a tie. A suit? He never wore suits... At least not if he could avoid it.
He sniffed. The smell of decomposition burned his nostrils. He felt slimy animals walking on his wrists, traveling to other parts of his body. He shook his hand just to find out that they were not only on him but in the whole box.
He tried his best to deny the truth but he was quite certain of where he was. A coffin. Buried, probably five feet underground. But how? The last thing he remembered was working in a coffee shop in London. He'd remember if he were shot or had some other disease, wouldn't he? But no, there was nothing. He panicked. He started kicking the lid shouting to let him out. He tried to open the coffin but it barely moved. He felt tears flowing down his face and he heard them hit the silk underneath him. gently.
He knew he had barely enough air to last ten minutes. He didn't bother to think how could he deduce such an information. He kept screaming and shouting and calling for help but he knew that the coffin and the ground made it impossible for his voice to reach the surface.
"Jack..." he whispered not even knowing why. His old school mate wouldn't help him now. And he didn't know any other Jacks. He wept again having no strength left in his arms. He breathed in without much success. There was barely enough oxygen for him to stay conscious. "Jack..." he whispered again, on the edge of fainting. His mind didn't even record it, as his eyes closed and his consciousness drifted away.
Captain John Hart entered the bar, his hands on his hips, chin up and looking sexy. He ignored the curious gazes and looked around. It was like any other in this part of the galaxy: the Platorion girls and boys showing off their orange skin and black birthmarks, neon lights coming from the white tales on the floor and the barman cleaning the glass vials looked as displeased as any and all other barmen in the universe. He ignored all that and looked for someone who denied the stereotype. He found three: two aliens and a human.
The aliens closely resembled the rightful inhabitants of Platorion but their eyes, glowing bright purple looked out of place and when one looked more carefully he could see they were not seated but floating just a few millimeters above the seats and when they weren't careful their body passed through the glass and furniture like it was air. John recognized these figures. The Rentrers were made of space dust and could take on any form they wanted. They were dangerous and that’s all what he needed to know about them.
He shifted his gaze at the human: a much more interesting find for him. He smiled seeing that the man was also looking at him. There wasn't even a little flicker of welcoming in his eyes. He was irritated, arms crossed on his chest, sometimes glancing at his vial to see if his drink was still there.
"Hello Jack!" he approached the man in the grey military coat slowly, as if not wanting to hurry it.
"John," Jack nodded slightly as if just to say he acknowledges his existence.
"Funny thing, Jack, I've searched for you all over the universe and I find you in this dump..." John noted and turned around to order himself a drink, "same as him" as he put it. There was no answer from Jack's side so he continued: "How's Torchwood doing after last time? How are your little Eye Candy and Gwen?"
Jack sighed, his eyes distant but voice clear and firm: "Gwen is expecting a child." he explained he thought it best not to mention about Ianto. And he could smile when speaking about Gwen.
John laughed at this and took a sip of his blue coloured drink. It felt as if this time it was him ignoring the answer. He closed his eyes tightly. "Strongest alcohol in the whole universe," he commented and started chuckling again. "Not even a father yet but already doing mistakes..."
"It's not me!" Jack growled already knowing where the conversation was going to lead. "She has a husband, you know?” he turned to the bar and directed the conversation elsewhere: “Anyways, what do you want?"
John exhaled air prolonging the silence. He hoped not to end the small talk so quickly.
"There's a little gadget I want to steal from here," John explained and glanced at Jack's eyes. They showed no sign of interest or approbation. "Could be useful in the future, worth a lot more than this lot here thinks."
The former Torchwood leader's eyes remained the same. He looked irritated by the request.
"And what do you need me for?" he asked scanning the vials behind the bar looking for maybe something stronger.
"Just thought it would be more fun if I did it with you," John sounded innocent when he said that but Jack was more than well trained in reading under his presumably normal lines.
He turned around to face the girl to his right. She had a blue long-sleeved shirt reaching just above her waist showing of a black birth-mark that looked like an ink splatter on the cards that psychologists used to show to people and ask them what they see. Her thick hair was short and pointy; face of a young adult, not spoilt by too much make up.
"Do you want me to buy you a drink?" he asked bluntly and gazed at her cheeks glowing bright orange in response. She hesitated for a moment but before she uttered the bashful "yes" John had already regained Jack's attention.
"I sit beside you, talk to you and in the middle of the conversation you still have the guts to flirt with somebody on my very own eyes?" he asked shocked. "Could you be a little more delicate at least? You and I have a past, you know."
Jack turned to him and gazed at him angrily. "A past is the right word." he said and stood up. John followed his lead and the next second a fist landed on Jack's cheek. Eyes turned to them. Jack punched Jon back using the most dishonorable techniques he knew. People started whispering behind their Panic spread when the third blow came knocking Jack of his legs. The Rentrers were the first ones to leave and more Platorions followed them.
Jack stood up leaning on the bar to help himself. He glanced at the girl who was now just centimetres away from him. He held her chin in his hand and enclosed his lips.
"Be right back with you," he smiled and John pulled him back and pushed him on the nearest table. Jack stood up and returned the blow. This time it was John leaning on a table and drinking an abandoned vial. He took out his gun and by the time the last bullet was shot into the ceiling the bar was empty with just a few youngsters hiding under the tables because of the fighting pair blocking their only exits.
The guards entered the bar knocking the door out just in time to see Jack holding John by his red jacket, fist raised in the attempt to hit him.
"And now for the grand finale!" he said and kissed John on the lips. The guards separated them just before John's hands rested on Jack's head to return the kiss. He opposed but it was six against two and they hadn't the slightest chance to win without bloodshed. They laughed hard; wrists cuffed making comments about the orange skinned officers as they were led out of the bar.
Rhys looked into Gwen's eyes and saw only happiness which now they both shared. He had never seen her happier than now - even at their wedding and when she bestowed him the news. Of course judging by what was happening at that time it was a lot harder to focus on those happy moments, mostly because of those bloody aliens. But now that Torchwood was gone both of them could be happy. Sometimes, though, he saw that tiny glimmer of longing in her eyes. But he was more than satisfied to have Jack finally gone out of their life. For those few days before its birth he wondered if Gwen would suggest Jack as the baby's name but thankfully she denied it an option.
"Alexander..." Gwen whispered the name with excitement for probably the twentieth time today.
Rhys kissed her and could feel her lips shaping a smile as she pulled away after a few satisfying moments.
"Oh, stop it!" she said teasingly and Rhys smiled, their attention returning to the newborn. Its eyes were partly shut probably because of the strong spring sun making its way through the white curtain. It had Rhys' eyes but although he kept saying it was his little clone that was where the similarities ended. The dark, almost black hair was most definitely from his mother's side as well as his cheeks. Although it was just a few weeks old Gwen had already lost her count how many times her and Rhys' parents fought as to who the baby resembles more.
Rhys took out a rattle from the baby-basket, which had a lot more toys than actually necessary, and started playing with Alex. The phone rang. Gwen quickly recognized her ring tone. She had changed it after Torchwood and then again just before Alex's birth. It was now a theme song from some baby TV show and sounded a bit awkward for her taste but her motherly instinct to take pride in having a baby controlled even her cell phone. Her wallpaper presented the face of her newborn child.
She left the room before answering and Rhys displeased recognized the voice she used whenever she was talking business.
"Yes, that's me," Gwen said to the speaker, her voice instinctively camouflaged her uncertainty. She listened for a few moments to the voice in the phone and then obviously annoyed tried cutting in a few times - without much success. "I already said it a few times already: I will not get involved with aliens ever again, thank you very much," her voice was now raised but calm and showing that she was on the higher position. A voice that met no denial. Another thing she had learned in Torchwood. Her quick steps right afterwards suggested she had hung up before the caller had even the slightest chance to react.
She kissed Rhys again: it was the "back from work snog" as her husband used to call it. He looked at her just once more to ensure himself it was better not to speak of any Torchwood related things at the moment. The phone rang again disturbing them once more. Her face first showed anger but quickly changed when instead of 'withheld' there was a familiar name on the mobile screen.
"Hello Andy," she said with a smile. Rhys could easily guess she was more than delighted to have a chance to speak with her friend about her new born. This time he was able to hear Andy's voice since Gwen didn't leave the room.
"Hey Gwen, how's little Alex doing?" the policeman asked. Gwen's smile faded as she read behind the lines of that seemingly casual greeting. She knew her former partner well enough to know that he wasn't just asking (on behalf of everyone in the office as well) about her baby's health.
"He's fine, thanks," Gwen's voice now lacked the friendliness it used to have but at the same time showed concern for her partner. "Andy, what is going on?" she asked.
"You see... I know it's your maternity leave and everything, but... There's no one else I could ask for help."
Ianto woke up gasping. He breathed deeply for a few moments happy to have any oxygen to breath with. His head was pounding and the bright light burning his eyes. It took him some time to get used to it and he could easily look around. He was lying on the much too familiar steps of the bay.
"Cardiff," he said a bit too loudly, his voice not yet adjusted. His head was pounding and the far away voices of the cities kept pulsing from really quiet to awfully loud.
As far as he remembered he was working in London.
People were walking past him glaring at him and probably thinking he had been too drunk to reach his house the night before. He sat down leaning on his arms for balance. He waited for his head to adapt and then slowly but steadily he stood up. It wasn't as bad as he imagined. He tried blocking of the judging looks people were sending him. The obvious struck him as soon as he remembered that the pitch black coffin he was in was far too real to be just a dream. He needed coffee.
He searched his pockets and found a few quid - just enough for a good cappuccino that he hoped would help his mind process better. After all, he had no idea what had happened. His first thought was clinical death. But wouldn't he remember if he had died? The memories he had seemed as distant as another life. For some reason he was sure that something had happened. Something that brought death upon him. But first and foremost: coffee and news.
He went into the coffee shop he knew since teenage years. He stopped at the end of the line but glares and whispers that were coming from everywhere made him doubtful. He left the line and headed towards the bathroom. He looked into the mirror and now could easily tell why he was the subject of people's conversations.
His clothes were dusty and now that he thought about it they smelled of mustiness and there were a few holes in his jacket. His tie obviously was red some time ago but now it was so grey that the color was hard to distinguish. The suit also looked bleached. His hair was a few centimeters longer than he used to wear it and not only did it stand in every possible direction it was filthy: greasy and with dust and sand in between the strands.
But it was his face that presented itself the worst. The skin was white. Not just pale: white. Like that of a ghost. Lips were almost purple.
The shock lasted only a few seconds before reason took control over his brain. He looked around just to make sure nobody was there and went out to see if anybody was coming. He slipped out and into the next door which he remembered was employees only. It was a closet with all the chemicals and cleaning devices. He found a sign that said out of order and disappeared back into the bathroom hanging it on the doorknob before locking the door. He had no time to wonder how he thought of it and where did he learn to sneak like that.
He corrected his hair and shirt (as he decided to throw the jacket and tie out as soon as possible) - best he could while waiting for the water from the sink to become hot. He then washed his face. It was when his hands touched the warm water that he realized he was freezing - another reason why everybody was staring at him - he didn't have a coat on. But the warmth didn't bring any circulation to his cheeks. They were still pale. He did however feel better and now that he had his hair done he thought he looked at least a little bit presentable.
He left the bathroom making sure nobody was on the corridor outside and returned to the line. He looked around moving forward automatically behind the man in front of him in the queue. The coffee shop wasn't the one he remembered from when he was last in Cardiff. The wallpaper was red with flowery decor and had a much more retro look. The arrangement of the tables was different as well. There was now a second floor and spiral stairs stood in one corner. In fact, the only thing that hadn't changed was the name: "Poppy".
"What can I get for you, sir?" the woman behind the counter asked disturbing him. He jumped and turned to her.
"Ah, yes..." he glanced at the coffee list quickly. "Just coffee..." he decided. "Preferably large and hot," he added smiling.
The girl turned to make the coffee. She was wearing pony tails and was quite young by the looks of it. Maybe not a student yet. Her name plate said: "Suzy". She had short red hair and had a fashionable feeling to her as well. Freckles didn't spoil her beauty. She was of average hight, maybe a bit taller than most girls but looked clumsy, the way she stood slightly hunching and sort of jumping when she walked.
"That'll be two pounds," the girl said putting the newly made coffee in front of Ianto. He put a few coins on the counter. "Cold outside inn't?" she said, friendly irony present in her voice.
"Yes, very," Ianto said ignoring her tone. He took the coffee and left the coffee shop, bumping into a police officer on the way out. Both of them ignored it and went on.
It really was freezing outside. The coffee in his hands didn't help much. He noticed his fingers were white and nails almost purple - he was obviously lacking blood in his veins. He stood in front of "Poppy", coffee slowly emptying and feeling just a tiny bit warmer. He thought for a while but the answer didn't come to him at all. He had absolutely no clue where he should go now.
"So, what do you want me to get you?" Andy asked sitting Gwen by the table. He could feel rage pouring out of his former partner. He knew well enough not to anger her even more.
"Just tea," Gwen said trying her best not to act like she's mad. Didn't work quite well. But she had all the reason for being angry. First there was the phone from the government asking her to work for them and now Andy had a case where apparently something supernatural was involved. She felt guilty and sorry for Andy. He was always in the middle of her problems and Torchwood but she never explained him anything. He still trusted her though. Enough to ask her to be his partner and to help with this case. "Sorry Andy..." she said when sure he wouldn't hear her.
She turned around to look outside. The queue was long and she knew she would have to wait a few more minutes. She was shocked to see Ianto standing outside in a white shirt without a coat. There was a coffee in his hand and he was looking blankly into the distance. She stood up and slowly, as if still unsure if it was him went outside.
"Ianto?" she asked, her voice fragile and barely audible. He heard her though. He jumped surprised and then slowly turned around. It was him. Gwen could feel tears gathering in her eyes. She embraced him tightly. Her chin rested on his shoulder although she had to stand on her toes to reach him.
Ianto didn't hug her back. He stood there allowing her to squeeze her, mostly because of the shock. Gwen noticed that quickly. The cup was still in his hand, his other arm down, raised just a few inches and lips sealed. She let go a bit uncertain of what she should do. She felt her hands twitch, eyes still down afraid to look at his face. Curiosity was stronger though. She glanced up and saw Ianto's face in shock, silent, clueless, eyes showing no sign of reconnaissance.
"You're joking, Ianto..." she said. "Tell me it's all a big joke," she took a few steps back trying to deny the thought rambling through her head. She was using her work voice, the one she used to talk when speaking with criminals. The slight trembling of it gave away her true feelings.
“Do I know you?" Ianto asked. But it wasn't the "do I know you?" one would use when meeting an old school mate or somebody he saw a few times in the neighborhood or at work. Gwen was sure of it. It was the "do I know you?" that people used when somebody they had never seen before suddenly hugs them in the middle of the street.
Gwen quickly regained her cool. The person in front of her looked like Ianto, sounded like Ianto and most definitely was Ianto. Apparently just not the Ianto who knew her.
"Ianto, what date is it?" Gwen asked.
Ianto blinked. That simple question was harder than he thought. What date was it? He never thought about it before. "Well it's spring..." he said, his assumption based on the weather. But it could well enough be autumn or even early or late winter.
"What year..." Gwen continued her voice now distant, eyes concentrated on Ianto, hiding her emotions. She was happy but at the same time devastated. Ianto was alive but he didn't remember her. And most likely he didn't remember Torchwood either.
"2005," Ianto answered quickly but regretted it immediately. Gwen's face told him it wasn't the year 2005 anymore. It probably wasn't even close by the looks of it. He swallowed, somehow knowing what the right conclusions were. "It's a joke isn't it?" he said.
"It's the year 2010," Gwen said. "I think you lost almost five years," she did the maths quickly. She knew that Ianto was previously in Torchwood 1 for about two years. "You don't remember Torchwood at all..." she said.
"What's Torchwood?" Ianto asked. All sorts of thoughts were passing through his mind one of them being: "why was he trusting this woman?". The pieces just fit together with what she said. And he somehow knew he could believe her. He didn't know why but what she said felt right.
Gwen was on the verge of panic. Her thoughts battled each other. She didn't know what to do or think. 'What would Jack do?' she thought. She knew he wouldn't tell Ianto the truth, that's one thing. She was fine with that. At least for now. She knew that the one thing Jack would like her to do is keep him safe. And that meant keeping him as far away from Torchwood as possible. It didn't however mean inviting him for a coffee and discussing Andy's police problem which she was about to do. But she couldn't leave him standing without a coat by the bay.
"I'm Gwen Cooper," she said. "We worked together in a... in a sales office," she explained.
"Ianto Jones," Ianto said out of habit. He reached out his hand to shake but it just felt awkward so murmuring something he put it in his pocket. He glanced at Gwen. He had no doubt she was lying but he didn't want to delve into the subject any further. There had to be a reason for her not telling him.
"I'm having coffee with my friend, maybe you could join us?" Gwen said pointing at the cafe. Her question sounded more like an order. Ianto had no choice but to obey.
They went inside. Andy was already raising his hands in disbelief thinking Gwen is escaping again. He was surprised to see her back at the table.
They went inside. Andy was already raising his hands in disbelief thinking Gwen is escaping again. He was surprised to see her back at the table.
"Good Lord, I thought you stood me up again! Then I saw you left your things so I thought you just went to the bathroom but..." he said. He wanted to say something more but he noticed Ianto. "But I... I told your sister... You were... I saw you, and you were..." he mumbled unable to believe his eyes. He turned his gaze back to Gwen demanding an explanation. His former partner glanced at him angrily and he kept quiet.
"Ianto, Andy, Andy Ianto," Gwen introduced them both.
"Ianto Jones, nice to meet you," Ianto smiled and reached out his hand.
Andy shook it, shock still on his face. "Same here," he said.
"Ianto doesn't remember anything from the past five years," Gwen explained sitting down. She hoped Andy would pick up on her chain of thoughts and not mention anything about Torchwood. Or his death. “I’ll tell you everything later, Ianto,” she turned to Ianto.
“You still want to keep those secrets away from me?” Andy asked annoyed and angry at Gwen. His voice wasn't loud and the monologue sounded more like he was talking to himself than to Gwen. “Nothing changes, fine. Go on! Don’t tell me about your little Torchwood secrets! Ouch!” Gwen kicked Andy under the table. It was enough to shut him up quickly. “Anyways, I’ve got two supernatural experts instead of one, so I guess I can deal with being kept in the dark…” Gwen shushed him again.
She looked up at Ianto. One look confirmed everything. He did suspect something had been kept from him. She looked down aware that Ianto was seeing right through her. He didn’t say anything though. And that just made it harder for her to lie.
“What is the drill, Andy?” Gwen asked turning the conversation.
“Right, yes,” Andy returned to the main subject. He took out a folder labeled ‘Water Thief’. “It’s a new case we’re working on. There’s been fourteen cases so far. Fourteen murders! And it’s only been a little week.”
“Two murders a day?” Gwen asked.
“No, it’s irregular,” Andy said and opened the file. “And there’s nothing to connect the victims. It’s like they’re completely random.” He pulled out the first file. “Harry Novak, age 48, last Thursday night. He was found just outside the city near the main road to London.”
“Oh my God,” Gwen whispered looking through the file. Ianto gazed from the side. Gwen quickly passed him the documents she had read through as if by habit. “They’re completely…”
“Dehydrated,” Andy finished. “There’s not even an milliliter of water in them. Somehow they’ve all been sucked dry. Like raisins. It was really hard to tell the exact time of death – there was no blood, no normal blood I suppose is better.”
“You’re in homicide now, Andy?” Gwen asked looking through the rest of the files. It was a young girl, age 24. That was what it said on her file. But her face lacked the characteristic of a young woman. It was wrinkled and dry, fingers clasped gently on her mobile phone as if along with all the water strength was also sucked out of her body. Gwen murmured another blasphemy.
“I’m covering for some bloke,” Andy explained. “Have to do my best to get higher. Not everyone gets to be, you know,” he glanced at Ianto who was entirely absorbed in the files, “be lucky,” he finished.
Gwen felt her heart filling up with guilt. She reached out her hand and squeezed Andy’s fingers. “I’m sorry, Andy…” she said. “Someday I’ll definitely tell you,” she whispered with a reassuring smile on her face.
Andy returned the smirk, his face full of not only disappointment but satisfaction. He knew that the smile she just gave him was real. Not one of those reassuring smiles she used to give him when she was apologizing for something she forgot to do. “I just hope I live to see that day,” he said still acting grumpy.
“Oh, stop it!” Gwen laughed sensing the joke. She hit Andy lightly on the shoulder and they laughed some more and made a few more remarks and inside jokes.
“It’s a Wart,” Ianto said immediately regaining the attention of the two. He had all the files in front of him arranged in a very neat way. But they were in a different order than he got them in. Ianto didn’t change much, Gwen thought. He still had those habits. He smiled whenever something was wrong and concentrated on work to shut off the pain. From the looks of it, it didn’t really work too well.
“What’s a Wart?” Andy asked, his head turned to Gwen instead of Ianto. His eyes showed confusion and Gwen easily concluded what his real question was. She lifted her shoulders and shook her head showing him she had no idea why Ianto remembered something like that. She then shook her head trying to tell him that she herself had no idea what a so called Wart was.
“It’s an alien that’s made mostly out of water,” Ianto explained. “They usually live in a very humid environment, much different than Earth’s. They can suck water out of objects and bodies. They need constant water and this environment is too dry for them. That’s why it attacked. A Wart is made out of 97% water and can shape shift; take on human appearance.” Ianto looked at Gwen with a puzzling look. “How do I know that?” Ianto asked.
“Alien?” Andy turned his head towards Gwen.
“Drop it, Andy,” Gwen said harshly.
Andy looked back at Ianto, though his pride was deeply wounded again. “If it’s a shape-shifter then how do we find it?”
Ianto showed Gwen and Andy a map of Cardiff with all the places where the murder occurred marked with an ‘x’ and a number. They looked random at first.
“You said so yourself, it’s hard to tell when the death occurred,” Ianto said. “You just assumed that they died in the order they were found. But if the murders occurred in this order, then…” Ianto crossed out five numbers and wrote new ones next to them. “Then that shows us where the Wart is heading,” Ianto smiled.
He was trying his best not to make it too obvious that he was terrified. His heart was hitting his chest hard and irregularly. Aliens. For some reason he knew they existed. And the fact that Gwen and Andy listened to him patiently and seriously considered his words as reliable made it seem almost possible. But the thing that scared him the most wasn’t the fact that he knew these weird things about extraterrestrial things. It was that he enjoyed the thrill he felt right now.
“It’s heading for the Bay,” Gwen said looking at the map.
“But there’s a gap!” Andy noticed. “In this area,” he pointed on the map, “There’s no murders here.”
“I suspect it could have been raining at that time,” Ianto said. “It fits the two days there were no murders.”
“How do we recognize it?” Gwen asked unconsciously adding the ‘we’.
“It should wear gloves because it’s hand have these suckers, like an octopus, so it would want to hide that, although… I don’t think it will help much this time of year.”
“No, I guess not,” Gwen said. “Damn you, Andy,” she looked at the policeman. “This is the last time I’m dealing with them, aliens.”
“Sorry Gwen,” Andy said. “Just one more thing, if it’s alien then how do we stop it?”
“Made 97% out of water, it can shift into anything - a stun gun is the best solution,” Ianto explained. “That’s all I know,” he added emphasizing. It didn’t feel like remembering at all. Knowing about those Warts felt more like knowing how to multiply or read. Something he’d learnt once and then just knew it instinctively. “Judging by the speed its moving with he should be around this area right now,” he pointed an area two miles away from the bay, “and there’s a fountain here, so it will probably stop there on the way to… recharge…” He looked up at Andy and Gwen. “We’ve got half an hour.”
Gwen and Andy got up faster than Ianto expected. They really were like policemen on a drill. He followed them out of the coffee shop, picking up all the files.
“But why Cardiff?” Andy asked when they were already cramped in his uniform car. “It’s not the perfect environment, he said so!”
“I believe it could be an accident,” Gwen said. “It was probably sucked in through the rift.”
“What rift?” asked Andy and Ianto simultaneously.
Gwen who was sitting on the passenger seat was thankful that none of the mirrors reflected Ianto. That would mean she would also be seen by her former colleague. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, doubt entered her heart for the first time.
“You know about a Wart yet you have no idea about the rift?” she said. Ianto remained silent. Gwen knew he realized her suspicion. “Answer me if you remember anything about these words and names,” she ordered. “Weevil.”
“I know them, they’re-“
Gwen cut in.
“The Risen Mitten.”
“I know that one.”
“That's the building in London. Why are you asking me about that?”
“Martha Jones.” Gwen ignored the question.
“An experimental pill.”
Gwen took a deep breath before asking the last four.
“They’re just numbers to me.”
“Captain Jack Harkness.”
Ianto didn’t answer at first. He felt his heart beat hard against his chest. He remembered the darkness in the coffin. The lack of air and the one word he said in desperation: “Jack”. But that was all. There was nothing in his head.
“Nothing,” he whispered, sadness creeping into his voice. He knew that this person had to be important.
He heard Gwen exhale slowly, trying to be as quiet as possible.
“The Doctor,” she said, her voice even more serious now. If there was one person in Torchwood who’d heard about the Doctor from Jack it was Ianto. She doubted that was possible but if there was even a small chance that he knew she was ready to take it.
“Haven’t heard about that one either.”
Gwen’s hands were shaking. Ianto seemed to know nothing of her Ianto. They were just information anyone could get their hands on if he knew how to hack. There was just one last name she could try.
“I know her,” Ianto said. Gwen exhaled in relief. “I just met her, yesterday. I mean I met her the day before I forgot it all.”
“Thanks Ianto, that’s all I needed to know,” Gwen said hiding her feelings using her professional voice.
“OK, never mind that confusing conversation,” Andy said from behind the wheel. “Can you now explain what’s the rift?”
“Sorry Andy,” Gwen’s eyes were searching the streets instead of looking at her colleague while she was saying that. “You just have to trust me on this one.”
“Like I haven’t heard that before…” Andy swerved into an empty parking spot, stopped the engine, and pulled the hand break. “We’re here,” he said.
They left the car. Andy pushed the button on his car key to lock the vehicle. The lights flickered twice and a sound announced the door was locked now.
“Got your stun gun?” Andy asked Ianto. The man raised the hand where the weapon was. There were only two stun guns in the car and they both agreed that it would be best if Gwen didn’t take any unnecessary risks.
They followed Andy up the street and left into a smaller street that led them to a small plaza with a fountain in the middle of it. There were lots of boutiques and cafes and more importantly: people.
“Right, it’s still lunch time,” Andy said. “So what do we do now? We can’t just tell each of these people to take their gloves off.”
“We can expose it,” Gwen said. “They’re sensitive to dry air, right? And they like water. Do they use only hands to absorb it? We could maybe try and…” she didn’t finish. She realized she was raising her voice, more excitement pouring in every second. She missed it. She missed Torchwood. She missed Jack. She missed Owen, Toshiko and Ianto. She wasn’t sure if the Ianto she was working with right now was the same Ianto she knew. He seemed to be the same person, he had the same habits, the same way of moving, he even acted the same he would in some situations. Her heart believed it was Ianto but the time she spent in Torchwood made her doubt her instincts.
“I don’t think we have to…” Ianto said. “It’s already gone,” he pointed at the fountain – now miraculously drained of water. There wasn’t even a drop left.
“So we missed it…” Andy said. “Brilliant, just brilliant,” he lifted his hands resigned.
“Maybe not,” Gwen pointed at a man near the dried fountain. He had light cotton gloves soaking wet, water dropping from the fingertips. He had a black leather jacket and skinny jeans. On his feet he had huge wellingtons that ruined his fashion balance. He had long greasy hair and a cylinder on his head.
She stepped back. The man looked right into her eyes. His pupils were light grey and eyes grayish blue. He looked like a blind person but Gwen could feel his gaze drilling into her mind.
Andy ran towards him, Ianto following right behind. The PC tried to hit the man with the stun gun but he hit nothing. The man’s body shifted and a hole was made in his chest where Andy’s fist should have hit. The policeman almost fell but the man grabbed his shoulder.
“You can help me,” it whispered into his ear before a bolt of electricity stole his consciousness away.
The man dropped on to Andy and the policeman could see Ianto standing in front of him with his hand stretched out, the stun gun squeezed in his fingers. He looked shocked like he’d always look whenever he did something that involved non-office work.
A few people stopped to watch the scene. Andy quickly corrected his hand not to look too suspicious and draw too much attention to the hole in the man’s chest.
“Move along! We’re police, there’s nothing wrong! Please return to what you were doing!” Gwen did a great job acting as a policewoman.
Andy started dragging the man towards the car. They realized they didn’t really think what they would do after they caught the Wart.
“Wow, he really is water,” Andy said, his hands and uniform were soaking.
“I’ll get the car,” Gwen said and Andy quickly gave her the key. She rushed to find the vehicle.
Ianto looked around and followed Andy. He hoped that the Wart wasn’t dead because of him. He helped Andy with the body.
“He said he needed help,” Andy said quietly. “It didn’t seem vicious. Why would it kill all those people?”
“Survival,” Ianto said and was surprised by the confidence in his own voice. He knew nothing about what he was saying but was sure that it was right. It was truly a weird feeling. “A human body is made 70% out of water – that would give about forty to seventy kilos per normal average person. People are common and murder doesn’t cost anything. And maybe it wanted to get attention from the authority.”
The police car entered the alley and exceeding the speed limit by at least ten miles per hour it rode towards them. Gwen stopped right before them, the breaks miraculously bearing the strain with a loud noise.
“Get in!” Gwen said through the open window.
Ianto opened the door to the back seat for Andy and the Wart and then sat on the passenger seat.
“I’m never doing this sort of thing again,” Gwen said desperately trying to believe her own words.
“I haven’t done that in ages!” Jack said when he, John and the alien girl were pushed into a small holding cell.
“Yes, they’ve got teleport detector,” John explained. “Otherwise I’d be here long ago!”
“Why are we here anyways?” Jack asked. He then turned to the girl. “Sorry, I haven’t introduced myself: Captain Jack Harkness, nice to meet you,” he pulled out his hand.
“Zoe,” the girl shook his hand. The blush on her face came back. She was still in shock partly because she was arrested and partly because she was sharing a cell with
“Sorry about all this,” Jack said. “I didn’t really think they’d take you, too.”
“Captain John Hart,” John said from the other side of the cell. His voice sounded like he was desperately trying to imitate an angry child yearning for attention.
“Oh, what are you mad about again?” Jack asked turning towards his partner.
John turned to face him but couldn’t say anything because two officers entered the room and stopped before the cell debating about them eagerly.
“So, you’re saying they were fighting over a girl,” one of them said.
“Yes, they wrecked the whole bar,” John recognized one of the guards that caught them.
“Excuse me!” he said obviously outraged. “We were not fighting over some girl! I was fighting over him!” he pointed at Jack.
Jack smiled flattered.
“I’d never fight over a girl like that,” John continued. “No offense, you’re pretty but you’re just not my type,” he added to the girl. He turned back towards the officers. Towards the new one to be more precise. He was wearing a black officer coat but had two stripes on the arm instead of one like the guards coat. He was a bit taller than your average guy and with short black curly hair. “You on the other hand, I’d...”
Jack cut in.
“John!” it was unusual for him to be the one to interrupt like this. It was usually him who was being banned from flirting.
“What? I was just saying!” John defended himself. “What’s your name officer?” he asked.
“Don’t mind him, just continue,” Jack said to the guards.
“I’m upper officer Corobel if you must know,” the officer said standing still but obviously disturbed by John’s behaviour. “You are being sent to penalty service for three years for disturbing public peace. That’s all.”
“What does ‘penalty service’ mean?” Jack asked seeing how the girls face had lost its former glow. She was pale with fear. She didn’t answer. “Well then I guess if it’s that bad then we’ll just have to escape.”
John pushed a sequence of buttons on his wrist strap and the door to the cell opened.
“That’s more like it!” John said. They left the cell and headed towards the exit.
“You’re not coming?” Jack asked Zoe who was still standing in the cell speechless.
John opened the next door. The alarm turned on.
“John!” Jack turned towards his partner with an annoyed expression on his face.
“Sorry about that,” John quickly turned the alarm off.
“They’re going to kill me,” Zoe whispered quietly.
“They certainly will now,” Jack glanced at John. “We’re getting out of here!” he pulled the girls wrist and ran after John into the corridor.
The lights like everywhere else were installed in the floor in the white plastic tiles. They hadn’t much time to contemplate their surroundings. They heard people moving in one of the branches of the corridor.
“In here!” John opened one of the doors to the right. It was a small closet and the three of them barely squeezed in. “They certainly tightened up the security since I was last here,” John commented.
“You’ve been here before?” Jack asked. “What else are you keeping from me?”
“Don’t worry Jack, whatever it is I can guarantee I don’t have any secret boyfriend,” John whispered avoiding the answer.
He quickly shushed Jack when the footsteps started approaching. They waited for the guards to pass the door and got out. They waited a few moments by the door just to be sure that no one else was coming and moved on.
“So why are the lights in the floor?” Jack asked after a few minutes of walking. “And more importantly, what are we looking for?” this question was directed at John.
“This place is in the middle of four major space trade paths,” John explained. “They intercept loads of space junk and frankly speaking most of it just stays in the storage room covered in dust. I just want to borrow one little thing.” John saw Jack wanting to ask another question. He quickly continued. “As for the lights, you can ask her.”
“It’s because lights shouldn’t be above,” the girl said.
“Basically, these idiots think that their two suns radiate massive amounts of radiation and they don’t want the lights to remind them of the sun,” John explained seeing how the girl wasn’t able to do it well. “But it’s all just a big propaganda!” he added.
“No, it’s not!” Zoe protested.
“I think I would know better,” John said. Jack knew that tone. It was the same one he would use with little annoying kids every time he was too ashamed to admit he’s having fun being around them. But he was too transparent and even Zoe saw his attempts futile.
“You never change,” Jack said smiling.
“Says the man who doesn’t age,” John riposted.
Jack glanced at the girl. Her colours were back and she looked like she had been enjoying herself.
“You do these sorts of things often?” she asked. “Break into police headquarters and steal things?”
“No, it’s just this once,” Jack said. “For me. He on the other hand...” He pointed at his former partner.
“Like you’re the innocent one, Jack!” John protested.
“Where are you from?” Zoe asked.
“All over the place,” Jack said.
“Cardiff, Wales, Great Britain, Earth,” John corrected him.
For the first time Jack couldn’t read him. Why did he say that to her?
“You travel a lot?” Zoe continued the questioning. “What’s it like out there?” She didn't even wait for the answer before asking another question.
“You’ll see for yourself soon enough,” John said cutting her question short. “Finally!” John stopped before a door labelled storage.
“You seem to know your way around this place,” Jack noticed. “It took us just a few minutes to get here.
“Like I said, I’ve been here before,” John said.
“What did you take then?”
“Just a little something, it would hold no value to you.”
“Well then try me!”
“Just some guns,” John said fighting with the door’s double deadlock.
It opened. A guard was standing on the other side. Zoe screamed quietly, covering her lips with her hands.
“Right, didn’t expect that...” John said and pulled out his revolver. He pointed at the guards head. The poor officer couldn’t even reach for his own weapon. They stood for a few seconds without motion.
“Jack, go inside,” the former time agent commanded. “You too Bluebird,” he was obviously talking about the blue-haired girl. “You,” he said to the guard when the two had obeyed him, “you will come here.”
They exchanged places slowly, John watching the guard’s every move.
“Jack!” he shouted when they were all inside the storage room.
“Working on it!” Jack said pressing a sequence of buttons on his wrist straps. “Got it!”
John couldn’t take that chance. Or maybe he just didn't want to. He shot the guard just before Jack got the code right.
“Got it!” he said.
The doors closed locking the three in the room.
“I changed the password earlier,” John said hoisting his gun. “They should take a few minutes before getting in.”
“At this point we might’ve as well used the teleport,” Jack commented. “They already know where we are since you killed the guard...”
“Oh, come on Jack! You don’t think so, do you?” John obviously enjoyed his little mission with Jack. He threw a sack to his friend. “Take all you want,” he said.
“Didn’t you just want one thing?” Jack asked.
“Might as well take everything while we’re here,” John said. “You too, Bluebird,” he threw another sack to Zoe.
“But I,” the girl protested.
“You’re going to be wanted anyways,” John said. “You might as well do something wrong!”
John disappeared between the many shelves of the storage room. He didn’t have to search long for it. He was prepared and already broken into the police computer earlier. It was behind a glass cabinet like all the intercepted objects. He opened the glass with his time agent wrist strap. It took him just a few seconds to do that.
“Aren’t you a beauty!” he said taking the small gadget into his hand. “Fifty first century voice message device,” he said turning it around in his fingers. It was a round disk with a name of the owner engraved in the middle. He couldn’t read it but he knew who it belonged to. The disc was made into an amulet; the letters were obviously exotic for someone. “And it's a necklace.” He hanged it on his neck and hid it under his shirt.
“You found it already?” Jack asked standing behind him.
John jumped startled. He quickly picked up a laser gun that laid next to the now gone amulet. “Yup! Got it here!” he showed the weapon to Jack. “Isn’t she beautiful!” he was thankful that the gun was truly a piece of art. It was made to look like an eighteen century revolver and had lots of flowery motifs. Only the metal – the alloy wasn’t of Earth’s origins – betrayed it true nature.
“You and your hobbies!” Jack wasn’t happy that he was involved in John’s gun-hunting.
“They’re coming!” Zoe appeared on the other side of the alley of shelves and ran towards them.
“Jack, we’ll meet outside,” John reacted immediately. “Take the girl, coordinates-“
Jack cut in. “My teleport doesn’t work!” he said desperately. He took Zoe hand and grabbed John’s wrist strap.
They appeared on the streets of the city. It was empty and still dark but the plastic tiles on the pavement gave out a red light.
“When did that happen?” John asked finally freeing his hand.
“Long story,” Jack said. “It happened when I tried to teleport to the twenty first century but somehow I ended up in the eighteenth. I couldn’t get it to work ever since. I had to wait three centuries! I had to hitchhike to get here!”
“Arthur Dent and Douglas Adams are now your gurus?” John commented. He turned to Zoe. “And how are you doing, Bluebird?” he asked. The girl didn’t answer. She was staring at the lights on the pavement; the bag in her hand half full. “Wow, you really took me seriously, I’m impressed. Now you will have to take an example of this guy and leave the planet for a few years, maybe travel the universe? I bet you could make a little money with what you got in that bag.”
The girl ignored him. The lights on the pavement were now flashing red.
“It’s dawn!” Zoe said. Her voice was filled with fear and the two time agents could see her trembling, terrified.
“Come on, Bluebird, I already told you: it’s all a big hoax! There’s no radiation.”
“Is that why there’s no windows?” Jack asked looking around. The walls were empty. There wasn’t a single window.
“Yeah, they live mostly at night and when the sun is up nobody is allowed to go out,” John explained. “But it’s really beautiful...” he added. “The day, I mean.”
“But it’s toxic!” Zoe protested.
“Look, Bluebird!” John pointed at the end of the street. The first sun was already coming out from the horizon. “Can something this pretty really be radioactive?” he asked.
The girl looked at the rising sun. It painted the sky pink, violet and orange – the exact colour of her skin. She was mesmerized, almost hypnotized by the sight. Jack also couldn’t take his eyes away from the sunrise. The buildings, normally white looked rainbow coloured in the light.
“Wow,” Jack said. “I wouldn’t miss that for the world,” he said. The second sun now followed the first’s example and came up painting the world its colour: blue – so light that it was almost white but with a hint of yellow in it.
John stood behind them. He turned around. The sky behind them was still dark and lacked everything the day was bringing in. “They have all this and they’re selling booze,” he commented quietly so that the two wouldn’t hear them. He took Jack’s hand – he didn’t seem to mind. He even squeezed it gently. Then he closed his eyes to keep the sight on his eyelids for just a little longer. With his free hand he pressed a sequence of buttons on his wrist strapped. They disappeared leaving Zoe with the beautiful sunrise, a bag of stolen machinery and a guarantee that her wanted posters would be hanging all over the town the next day.
Andy was sitting opposite to the suspect by the metal desk in the interrogation room. He felt weird. It was his first time in homicide and he was already interrogating someone. Alien and in secret, yes, but interrogating. They all agreed it would be best if they kept it a secret, like Torchwood always did.
“So...” he started. The man in front of him had handcuffs but Andy knew perfectly well that that wasn’t going to stop him if he tried to escape. And the fact that he still hadn’t tried ensured Andy that the alien really was looking for help. “Maybe... what’s your name? You seem to know English.”
“Murro Lebiexantrov” the Wart said.
“Right, that sounds a bit Russian...” Andy could feel his whole body sweating. He was probably more wet than the alien. “Gwen dealt with this sort of things daily,” he whispered to himself. “Can I call you Mr. Murro? I don’t have to try to know I won’t be able to say your surname properly.”
“Just Murro is fine,” the aliens voice was so low it almost felt like a whisper. Like water, Andy thought.
“Fine, what is your purpose in coming to Earth?” Andy cursed his voice for wavering like it did.
“It was an accident,” Murro explained. “I was taken here by the light, I want to get back home.”
“Right...” Andy tried to continue questioning but the alien continued speaking.
“Can you help me? I can barely breath here, it’s so dry,” it drank the whole glass of water in one go.
“You killed numerous humans,” Andy said using the occasion that Murro stopped and was drinking.
“I apologize for that,” Murro was awfully calm. “It was only when I was desperate and couldn’t find any other source of water. Help me go back to my own planet and I will leave yours alone.”
“Right... I don’t know how,” Andy said. “I think I can arrange for water but you will have to wait until we find a way to get you back. You won’t kill me, right?” Andy gulped.
The Wart laughed quietly. He pointed his finger at the three six-packs of water lying next to the table. “As long as this doesn’t shrink to zero, You’re fine.”
Gwen’s heart was beating fast. She was more nervous than ever. She just left Andy with a possibly hostile alien, alone and was now riding with Ianto who was just about to ask questions about his past. She knew he realized that she had lied to him earlier and now she didn’t have any clue what she would tell him. The only thing that she wished for at the moment was that Jack was in the car to help her deal with Ianto. They were already driving for a few minutes and he was probably getting ready to ask questions.
“So... Torchwood, eh?” Ianto started. “What did we do exactly?” he asked.
Gwen bit her lips. She found it really hard to concentrate on the driving.
“I know about aliens, I’ve just apprehended one and I seem to have been dead for some time – according to that policeman, Andy,” Ianto continued. “Pretty crazy, that sales office.” He laughed but he didn’t sound to too cheerful.
“What do you want me to say, Ianto?” Gwen bursted.
“I want the truth! I have lost five years of my life and I want to know what happened! Because from what I can tell I probably died in the process too. I forgot everything!”
“Some of us aren’t that lucky!” Gwen was shouting, desperately trying to look at the road instead of Ianto. “You have no idea what Torchwood does to people. You have a chance to start a new life, a normal life! I’ve seen so many people die and all that because of Torchwood! Because we either caused it or couldn’t stop it! I’ve seen my colleges die and then come to life again just too die an even worse death. Because that’s what Torchwood does to all of us! It isolates us from the world and either kills us or makes us suffer! Or both! And you know what was the worst?” Gwen wiped her tears. “Seeing my boyfriend dead! And holding him, holding his still warm but cooling body! Thinking I will never ever see him again! And I don’t want to see you die again. Because to be honest, you look the same as when I’ve last seen you. You look like a ghost and you’re as cold as a deadman.”
“I’m alive!” Ianto protested. “I have a heartbeat! It’s faint and slow, but it’s there!”
“That’s good, Ianto, that’s very good...” Gwen could feel tears flowing down her face. “Then don’t lose it again,” she said. She took a deep breath. She knew what Ianto was going to say now.
“I deserve to know,” Ianto said. He was more calm now, his voice more quiet, probably not expecting to get too much information from Gwen.
“I won’t tell you,” the policewoman said.
Ianto remained silent for a few long moments.
“Can you take me to my sister?” Ianto asked calmly. “She lives...”
Gwen’s voice was confident: “No,” she said.
Ianto was surprised. He didn’t expect Gwen’s denial in this case. He tried saying something but all that came out were mumblings.
“At least not now,” Gwen explained. “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry but I just don’t want your sister to have hope. After all you’re not exactly...”
“Alive?” Ianto finished for Gwen. But he didn’t protest. He understood perfectly well what she was trying to convey.
“You can stay with us – me and Rhys and Alex – for now,” Gwen said, her voice now more gentle.
“Won’t I be any trouble?” Ianto asked sincerely concerned about that matter.
“Oh come on!” Gwen said. “If you just make that miracle coffee of yours for us, that’ll be all the help we need!”
Ianto smiled. He caught another hint about his previous life. He wanted to ask about it but the atmosphere would become grave again and he didn’t want to cause that again. If Gwen wasn’t going to tell him he promised he would find out himself what happened to him. And the quicker he would tell that to his new landlady, the better.
The rest of the ride passed on Gwen telling about Alex’s short life with all the details and then clumsily explaining what changed throughout the past five years. Ianto also asked about his sister but Gwen refused to tell him anything except that they were doing fine.
“I don’t really know much about your family,” she explained. “And I last saw her a few months ago.”
Gwen pulled up by the gate of their suburban house. Ianto could see from the look on her face that she was truly happy that she was finally coming home. Her smile faded when she realized she would have to explain everything to Rhys.
The door opened before they even approached it.
Rhys had seen many unusual things in his life including aliens but he had never seen a dead man walk again. He stood there in shock for a few seconds, unable to say anything. Before Gwen could explain anything he passed her, greeting her quickly with a peck on the cheek. “It’s so good to see you, Ianto!” he said hugging him.
“Right, nice to...” he uttered desperately trying to say anything meaningful. But the thought of a strange man who knew him well – or so it seemed – hugging him made him feel awkward. He was stiff unsure if he should return the hug or not. Thankfully Gwen was there.
“Rhys,” she started, “Ianto doesn’t really remember,” she said. “He doesn’t remember the past five years of his life and Torchwood.”
Rhys let go of Ianto. “Right, I’m Rhys Williams,” he introduced himself. He felt a bit awkward about the situation but didn't let it stay in his head for too long.
“Ianto Jones, but I presume everybody knows that already,” Ianto shook Rhys’ hand.
“I’ll show you around the house,” Gwen said taking his hand and leading him towards the door.
They went inside. Everything was new and renovated. “This is the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room,” Gwen added a short comment wherever they went. She went with him around the house showing each accommodation. They didn’t go into Alex’s room because the boy was sleeping – there was a sign on the door that said so. The last room she showed her was the guest room back downstairs. “This is where you’ll sleep,” she said. “I’ll bring you some of your clothes later. You can take a nap if you want. Rhys will be preparing dinner later.”
She wanted to leave Ianto in the room but the man stopped her. “You know where my things were?” he asked. “I kept a diary, didn’t I? Can I at least see it? I have the right, you know.”
Gwen looked at him. “There’s not much left of it...” she said. “I’ll bring it with the clothes,” she was very hesitant when she said that.
And then Ianto was left in the room alone. He really felt tired. He knew his body wasn’t working properly. There was an unfolding couch, a bookshelf and a closet. Ianto walked around nervously putting his hands up and down unable to express himself. He felt tears welling in his eyes. The gravity of all that had happened finally reached him. After a short while he sat down. He checked his heartbeat. He smiled.
“It’s faster,” he whispered. Just a tiny bit but it was faster, he was sure of it.
Sounds coming from the kitchen disturbed him. He could hear Gwen and Rhys discussing something. It took him seconds to realize that the conversation’s subject was him.
“You didn’t tell him?” said Rhys surprised it was even possible. Ianto couldn’t hear Gwen. “You said it yourself, you didn’t even know he had a life outside Torchwood and now that he has forgotten everything about it you won’t even tell him what he used to do.”
“What if he wants to go back?” Gwen explained herself.
“He won’t!” Rhys seemed to be really confident. “As long as Jack is gone Torchwood is never coming back.”
“Today we arrested an alien,” Gwen said. “Torchwood isn’t the only way of fighting against aliens!”
“But Ianto wasn’t connected to any of them!” Rhys continued. “He wouldn’t work for UNIT or any other organization.”
Gwen didn’t answer. Ianto knew she didn’t say anything.
“You think it’s that memory pill?” Rhys asked.
“Redcon? No. No, no, no, no... That’s not it. If it were Redcon then he'd already remembered something. Something about me or Jack or Torchwood. This, whatever it is, seems to work differently,” Gwen said. “Anyways, I should get going, I have to pick up his clothes.”
Ianto waited a few moments before he heard the door shut. He was tired. He wanted to fall asleep for a few hours but he found himself remembering the coffin. He couldn’t close his eyes not to feel the darkness surrounding him. He fought with his fatigue till his mind closed off and he fell asleep.
Gwen arrived at the isolated garages in her blue Honda. She had to take a few deep breaths before she stepped out of the car. “Here we go,” she said to herself and opened the door. This place held so many memories. She headed towards one of the garages. The one that had all of Ianto’s belongings stored in it. Or at least all that was left of them. She pushed a combination of buttons on the automatic lock right next to the door. In reality she wanted to forget it but she just couldn’t get herself to do so.
The door opened and revealed an almost empty, spacious storage room. Her footsteps echoed. There were barely three big boxes of Ianto’s things. She went towards the first one. She could feel tears flowing down her face.
The box had four sets of suits and ties that Ianto always wore to work. She then went on to the next one. She smiled through her tears. It was the broken coffee machine. Next to it lay the only cup that miraculously survived the explosion: Jack’s blue and white striped mug. Nobody knew how that had happened. She left it. The last box, a lot smaller than the rest had what Ianto wanted. His diaries. All six of them covered in neat handwriting were now black, covered in smudge. Some words were visible but no phrase was readable. The edges were all burnt.
Gwen put the diaries in the box with the suits, took it and left the storage room as quickly as possible. She wiped her tears once more when putting the box in her trunk. She thought if the diaries weren't burnt would she bring them to Ianto.
She sat back behind the wheel. Her phone rang before she could even start the engine. It was Andy.
“Hi Gwen,” he said. “I just spoke to Murro, I mean the alien. Can we arrange for an aquarium?”
Rhys was a better cook than Ianto expected. It was vegetarian pasta done from probably Mexican recipe judging by the spices added.
“This is delicious!” Ianto said having already finished half his plate.
“Thanks,” Rhys wasn’t used to anyone praising his dishes. He swallowed another mouthpiece. “So Ianto,” he started. “What exactly do you remember... If you don’t mind me asking.”
Ianto put down his fork. “No, of course not,” he said. “The last thing I remember is Lisa, a girl I met just once. She was really pretty, but I... I forgot to ask her number,” Ianto smiled sadly. “I reckon I’d never see her again. I was working part time at a cafe and she was my customer but we sort of clicked. I lost my chance though... The rest of the day passed normally and then nothing, I don’t remember a thing,” he hesitated. He remembered the coffin. Was it really true what happened then? Or was it just a dream? He decided to keep that experience to himself. “I woke up near the bay and half an hour later Gwen finds me! And she told you what happened afterwards.”
“Right,” Rhys looked at Gwen. His eyes were drilling into her mind obviously trying to convey something.
“Well all right,” Gwen said giving up. “But I’m not saying much. Jack would kill me if I did. I only knew you from work. We were all working in Torchwood: me, you, Jack, Owen and Tosh. You may find this impossible to believe in but we fought aliens.”
“Oh, after today it’s not really that hard,” Ianto commented.
“I guess so... Well, Owen and Toshiko are... well they,” Gwen found it very hard to say those words.
“I understand,” Ianto interrupted. For some reason he knew about what had happened.
“Right, we continued working. Us and Jack. Jack was our boss. And about nine months ago they came. The 456. Aliens. They wanted to take the children. 10% of worlds children. We eventually stopped them. But the Hub, our headquarters, was destroyed, you also died and Jack eventually wandered off into the universe. We were all bonded. Like a family,” Gwen finished obviously finding her memories very fond. She quickly regained he former self. “Anyways, that’s all I’m saying. Nothing more! You won’t make me!”
Gwen stood up. She went out of the kitchen and came back with four small notebooks. She passed them to Ianto.
“They won’t help you much,” she said. “Sorry.”
“Thank you,” Ianto said looking at his diaries. He didn’t open them. “For these, and for the food,” he ensured himself that everyone finished eating and stood up. “I seem to be really tired, if you’ll excuse me,” he left the room squeezing all his diaries in both his hands.
He shut himself in his room. There was no way he would give up on his past. However dangerous it might have been. He searched the room for any empty paper and something he could write with. He took the first diary. He tried desperately to find anything, any lead on his previous life, anything that could maybe help him get his memories back. He stared at the black pages. The words made no sense. Mostly they were just phrases that without any context were impossible to understand. Sometimes they were adjectives or nouns. There was one name that appeared particularly often. Jack. His boss and apparently friend as well. And he didn’t even know what he looked like.
And then there was that one word. One word that made him truly understand the gravity of his situation. It was love. He understood. He felt tears flowing down his face. It wasn’t just about him. It was about everyone he knew, everyone he met. It was about the late Toshiko and Owen. He couldn’t remember them. There was nothing: no voices, no faces… It was all blank. And what about all the rest? The ones only he remembered? The ones only he knew? What of them? It would be as if they never existed in the first place.
He noticed something about the memories he still had. The ones about the Wart and the Weevils and all those other aliens he seemed to know of. He felt nothing towards them. No fear, no hatred, no compassion, nothing. He forgot everything he felt was dear to him.
He whipped his tears but they didn’t stop. He hid his face in the small notebook. He stayed like that for some time until he had finally calmed down. He lifted his head. With the corner of his eye he noticed a photograph that had fell from between the pages. Half of it was burnt. There was a man and a woman on it. And Gwen’s shoulder as well. The man looked as if he wasn’t too pleased with having his photograph taken. The woman on the other hand, seemed to be the one to make him stand there for the photo. She was pulling his hand and trying to pose with him.
“Toshiko and Owen,” he knew instinctively. He put the photograph back in between the pages. He glanced at the clock standing on one of the shelves. It was twenty past midnight. He closed his eyes for a moment. Then looked back up again. It was almost six hours later. Still dark.
He slipped out of the room and into the bathroom. He looked at his face in the mirror. He wasn’t as pale as yesterday. He didn’t look as dead as he looked the last time he had seen himself. He measured his pulse. It was faster than yesterday. Only slightly but he was almost sure that it was quicker. It seemed that he was getting more alive.
He made himself coffee and left the house.
Andy was walking around looking at the aquarium every few seconds.
“So, that’s your real form?” he asked looking at the alien.
Murro Lebiexantrov had five limbs: two hands and three octopus legs floating on the water, his head and body above.
“Yes,” Murro said. “For swimming...” he added after a short pause.
“I’m sorry I don’t know how to bring you back,” he said. He became really familiar with his new friend since he was stuck with him for several hours the day before. Gwen came to check up on him in the evening but it seemed unnecessary. He already felt more comfortable around the outer space form of life. And Murro seemed really gentle. “As soon as we find anything I’ll tell you,” he added.
“Thank you,” the alien said softly.
“And... Um... sorry for locking you in a cage like this. I really can’t let you out.”
Murro didn’t answer but the silence wasn’t awkward at all. It felt almost reassuring. Andy leaned on the glass cage and slid down.
“Gwen had to do this every day,” he reminded himself once more.
Ianto arrived at the police station. He went to the reception desk. The woman behind it looked at him a bit annoyed. It was still early and she looked half awake. There was probably a coffee under the desk.
“Good morning,” he greeted her.
The woman looked at him awaiting to hear his problem.
“I’d like to inquire about somebody,” Ianto said. “His name is Captain Jack Harkness.”
The woman looked at him. “I’m afraid I can’t grant you any information.”
“Is it because of who he is or because you can’t give information away?” Ianto asked. The woman’s look was enough of an answer. “But I really need that information. I need to know who he is!”
“If you have some sort of problem with him you should ask the police to handle it,” the woman said.
“Ianto?” Andy appeared out of nowhere next to him. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, good morning,” Ianto greeted the PC. “I’m just... trying to figure some things out. Gwen never cared to explain anything beyond the basics.”
“I know, she does that,” Andy said. “She wouldn’t tell me anything about that Torchwood of hers. So I had to figure some things out myself,” he looked at the receptionist and saw her growing impatient. “Right, please answer all his questions Maggie,” he said to her and returned to look at Ianto. “Well, I got to go, so good luck,” he said and continued towards the centre of the building.
Ianto returned his attention to the receptionist.
“There’s no one by the name of Captain Jack Harkness in our records,” the woman said.
“What about Torchwood?” Ianto didn’t give up.
The woman checked once more. “Nope.”
Ianto remembered their weird conversation in the police car. “The Doctor.”
The woman laughed. “Well there are lots of those here: Doctor Reynolds, Doctor Smith...”
Ianto cut in. “No, the Doctor,” he remembered Gwen emphasizing the ‘the’.
“No, just normal doctors,” the receptionist said. “Anything more?” the woman was clearly annoyed.
“Yes, just one more,” Ianto took a deep breath. He knew he should’ve tried this one since the very beginning. “Ianto Jones.”
The woman took a few seconds to type the name in. “There’s no Ianto Jones in the database either,” she said casually.
Ianto took a step back. This was impossible. He wasn’t in any police records. And he had been arrested when he was young for some very minor crimes like shop lifting.
“I don’t exist...” he whispered quietly.
He stood quietly in the middle of the hall, people walked pass him without even noticing his existence. Finally when he decided to return to Gwen’s home a person walked up towards him.
He was young, a student maybe. He was of average hight, he had brown and green eyes and his hair was blond with a tinge of He was wearing jeans, trainers and a leather jacket but the neat, white collar of his buttoned up shirt hidden underneath the jacket suggested he was working. He had a computer bag over his left shoulder. When he spoke pure Irish accent escaped his lips.
“You looking for Torchwood?” he asked.
Ianto nodded still in shock.
“It’s sort of a banned subject around here,” the man said. “Nothing good comes from Torchwood. They barge in and say they’re taking over and you have no choice but to obey. They corrupt all the evidence and there’s usually some sort of tragedy involved.”
“And you are...?” Ianto interrupted him. For some unknown reason he felt both offended and amused by the strangers words.
“Oh, sorry,” the man said. “I’m Tobey, Tobey Magpie, I keep the computers running properly,” he explained.
“Ianto Jones,” he shook Tobey’s hand.
“Anyways, you’d better watch your guard around Torchwood,” he said. “They also kept breaking into the police’s computer system. That’s how I found out about them. Even made themselves an account! Can you imagine that? And when I came and asked about this user Torchwood nobody knew who it was!' Tobey was trying to act cool and relaxed but his voice was pitched just a tiny bit and he was obviously nervous. Ianto didn't knew if it was because he was a stranger to him or if it was because of the subject of the conversation. 'So I had to delete the account. But they kept breaking in so I did some snooping around. If you really want to know you could check that information desk at the bay. Somehow they’re connected to it. I suggest you just leave Torchwood alone but what do I know? See you later!” he continued his pace towards the elevator.
Ianto listened carefully to each and every word. At least now he had some lead. Tobey didn’t seem like he’d know a lot more than he had said. And from the way he spoke Ianto could easily deduce he was just a bystander. But then again, a bystander can sometimes notice a lot more.
Tobey looked around to see Ianto was leaving the police station. He knew that name and face from somewhere. He followed his every step from behind the computer screen, sitting in the lobby and waiting to arrive last minute at his work office. He noticed him from the moment he passed the entrance. He was thankful for that habit of his of checking the logs. From that he knew that Ianto Jones was looking for Torchwood. And he seemed to know Andy, who was once associated – and probably still was – with Gwen Cooper, the newest member of Torchwood. He did his when Toshiko Sato, their IT person with such ease drilled into his defense system. He was her number one fan amazed at her computer skills.
Tobey went into his office and greeted each and every one of his work mates. There was a coffee waiting for him on his desk. He searched the room to find his mate, Kurt. He made a thanks gesture and got a wide grin in return. Kurt was their office’s good doer.
Tobey sat behind his desk and plugged in his laptop. He searched the database for Ianto Jones. A password was needed to get that sort of information. That wasn’t a problem. He had already stolen the chief of police’ password a long time ago figuring it wasn’t a good idea to break into the system every time he needed something.
He looked through the file. Ianto was a member of Torchwood. Then why would he be asking about it in the first place? Birth, home town, sex, characteristics, he read everything carefully. There wasn’t much, there just couldn’t be since he was working for Torchwood. Tobey scrolled down, the biography window was far too big for the amount of information written inside. And then on the bottom he read a very disturbing message. It said Ianto Jones was deceased.
Tobey stood up. This made no sense. He packed his computer and as quickly as he could left the police headquarters even faster. He didn’t even give a proper explanation to his work mates.
He wanted to meet Torchwood and Toshiko Sato ever since their first cyber encounter. Although the second one was now impossible the first he was still able to do. He even wanted to but the tourist information desk was closed when he had found out about it. And now he had the chance and let it slip through his fingers unnoticed.
Ianto looked at the stairs by the bay where he came to consciousness the other day. The entrance to the old tourist desk was close by and he had little doubt that it was just a coincidence. It was late morning and he could imagine that Gwen was already crazy with anger and fear that he disappeared. She seemed to be genuinely worried about him.
The door to the tourist information was locked. He looked to see if nobody was around and tried to open the door by force. It didn’t budge. He walked away holding his hurting arm. He stopped a few meters away from the door. There was Gwen. She was on the other end of the pathway looking at him with what seemed like pity.
“Did you figure this out?” she asked. “Or did someone tell you.”
Now Ianto could be 100% sure that this was the right place.
“An IT person at the police station,” Ianto explained. “Are you going to show me what’s inside?” he asked.
Gwen shook her head. “I already told you,” she said.
“Gwen,” Ianto’s voice was trembling. “I was not listed in the police database. I should be. It feels like, if Torchwood isn’t real than I’m not either.”
“Believe me, Ianto, Torchwood was real, you are a real person, Ianto,” Gwen said closing in.
“Then prove it!” Ianto begged.
“You saw that alien yesterday, you remember aliens!” Gwen said.
“What if it’s all a hoax?” Ianto was convinced not to lose to Gwen this time. “The thing about my memories is, they don’t have any value. To me it’s all like something I learnt once and then just remembered. They’re not dear to me! They’re like multiplying: I know how, I use it and that’s it!”
“Ianto, please don’t do this,” Gwen said, her defenses melting. She knew what it meant to show the wrong people the truth. How she could ruin somebody’s life just by saying one word too much, by showing them one image too much.
“I need to know,” Ianto said gazing at her with such intensity that she just couldn’t bear it.
“I’m just going to open the door, OK? Nothing more,” she said approaching the door. She took a key from her pocket and unlocked the door.
She went inside first and turned on the lights. She approached the desk and turned on the main power for the hub downstairs. Then she pressed the hidden red button and showed Ianto the inside.
Ianto looked around the hub unable to utter a single word. And there, next to his amazement the thought appeared: why couldn’t he remember it? Why, even now when he was standing in this unimaginable place his brain still cut off his memories.
Gwen on the other hand had completely different thoughts. She looked at the Hub with sadness in her eyes. The Hub was reconstructed but now it was just a huge storage room without any of the former equipment except for the Rift manipulator. The 'Torchwood' sign that looked like an underground station name remained but the tiles were new and covered in dust - it just didn't fit the Torchwood character. And the empty furniture - no left over pizza on the couches or coats waiting for Ianto to pick them up and put away - just made the Hub look really distant and unfamiliar. It was quiet - silent. Gwen wanted to do only one thing: cry.
John let go of Jack’s hand the moment he was sure that they teleported correctly. He didn’t want Jack to think he was too pushy. Well with what he just wanted to do he was really pushy but it was the thought that counted.
They were back in the bar where they had their reunion. It was cleaned up already. All the bottles of alcohol were standing neatly on the shelves behind a counter. Too neatly. John jumped above the counter, took a bottle of blue liquid and threw it at Jack who caught it without any sweat. He then sat on the counter and after a solid gulp of his drink he started talking.
“Since when is your teleport broken?” he asked.
“Some time,” Jack answered like it was some minor glitch.
“That certainly makes things easier,” John murmured to himself. “Anyways, I have a request,” he said. Jack lifted his eyebrows from behind his bottle. He was already sitting on one of the tables. “I want you to return to Earth.” Jack didn’t respond. “And I want to join Torchwood...”
This made Jack almost spill his whole drink. “You what?” he asked although the question didn’t need repeating.
“I want to join Torchwood.”
“I’m serious!” John insisted.
“And why would you want to join Torchwood?” Jack asked.
“Oh, don’t tell me you don’t know that! I’m jealous that’s all! You run off, make your little team, find a pretty boyfriend and I’m left behind! It’s just boring! And you Torchwood lot looked like you were having fun!”
“No,” Jack answered quickly and confidently.
“Oh, come on! It’ll be fun!”
“I know what your ‘fun’ means and I’m saying ‘no’!” Jack insisted.
“And there’s that other thing...” John said.
Jack who was just lifting a bottle to his mouth stopped half way. “What other thing?”
“You see, the last time I was in Cardiff, I sort of made a mess of things, not in a bad way of course,” John explained. “I was trying to do a good deed once in a while. But then I thought that if I do it then I’ll be the victim again. So I complicated some things,” John’s story seemed like total gibberish.
“John, what did you do?” Jack asked his voice now serious and demanding.
John ignored him and continued. “And then there’s just one other thing...” he said. “I wanted to check up on Gwen, you know just meet an old friend and see how she’s doing, and she had a baby. Except there was this one tiny problem... It’s not entirely human, that baby boy...”
END OF EPISODE 1