Pairing - Jack / Ianto,
Summary - Five years after leaving, Jack and Ianto return to find a lot of changes and few old faces. Follows on from 'Eternity'- probably best to read that first.
Spoilers - Post Children of Earth, but only minor ones.
Old Town New
‘Old Town New’ is going to continue, but more like the first two series of Torchwood were; separate stories each time but that fit together in the grand scheme of things.
I liked the idea of series two’s ‘Fragments’, showing how the team got recruited, so there could be a couple more like this for the other newcomers as well.
Ch 2- How Adrian got the job…
Eighteen months earlier-
Dr Adrian McAuley heard the screams from down in the lobby as he got his cup of coffee from the vending machine. Dropping the cardboard cup back onto the shelf of the machine, sloshing the hot liquid over the sides, he turned and ran in that direction. As he passed by the nurses’ station, he called for them to page security to head for the lobby. Since he was a casualty doctor, this wasn’t the first time he’d seen Saturday night drunks or crazies causing trouble. It was, however, the first time he’d seen anything like the chaos in the lobby.
He stopped dead as he reached the doorway, unable to do anything but stare as the huge red-skinned man hurled one of the security guards across the room as though he was a rag doll. A couple of the braver nurses edged into the room to check on him as he landed.
Wait a minute- red skin? Looking again, Adrian wondered where the man had got his costume from; it was amazing, it looked so realistic. And the contact lenses he wore were cool- silver cat-like eyes. That said, and no matter how cool his costume was, the guy was also tearing up the lobby and security guards alike.
“Stop right there!”
Another security guard rushed him, only this one had obviously learned from his colleague’s mistakes and ducked when the man too a swing at him. He dodged under the man’s arm, trying to get close enough to get some handcuffs on the him. Noticing this, the guy moved out of his way. The guard fell a moment later as the man threw a chair he had wrenched from the floor at him.
He had to be on something, Adrian thought. It took some serious strength to rip one of those chairs out of the floor. And that gave him an idea.
Leaving the nurses to tend to the injured guards and drag them out of the line of fire, Adrian made a run for the nearest supply cupboard.
When he got back, he called the one security guard who remained standing over to him.
“Keep him busy,” Adrian told him. “In that direction, if possible.”
As the guard led the man a merry dance, keeping just out of arms reach but annoying him enough to keep his attention, Adrian edged closer. When he was within reach, he stuck the syringe into the man’s backside and injected the entire contents.
The man hit the floor in a crumpled heap mere seconds before a man and a woman burst through the doors. They had guns in their hands and they headed straight for the man on the floor.
“Gwen Cooper, John Hart,” the woman told the surprised onlookers. “Torchwood.”
Her companion turned to Adrian, standing and watching with the syringe still in his hand, and smiled. “You did this? Impressive.”
Two weeks later, he was offered a job with Torchwood.
“Don’t move! Anyone tries to stop me and I shoot her!”
Captain Jack Harkness slowly moved his hand away from the gun at his hip and showed that he wasn’t going to try anything.
Their assailant, a dark-haired man in his late twenties, nodded. He tightened his grip on Gwen, one arm around her neck, making sure she couldn’t escape, and waved the gun at the others. She looked across at Jack with frightened eyes.
“In there. Sit down, hands behind your backs,” he ordered, indicating to the office on his left, then stopped Ianto. “Not you. Tie them up.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of plastic restraints, the kind used by police.
“Let Gwen go,” Ianto asked. “Please.”
“You volunteering to take her place?”
“Ianto, no!” Jack said, but Ianto ignored him.
The man made Gwen sit down as well, waiting for Ianto to pull the last of the ties tight around her wrists before pulling him to his feet.
As the office door closed, Captain John Hart glanced at Jack.
“Eye-candy’s got more guts than I thought,” he commented.
“You know that calling him that irritates the hell out of him, right?” Jack glared at John. “If he gets hurt, I’m holding you personally responsible.”
“Hey, that’s not fair.”
“Not fair? You’re the one who picked up that nut-job in the first place,” Jack snapped back.
John huffed, annoyed. “How was I to know? He was cute!”
“Only you could pick up a guy in a bar and have him turn out to be a psycho,” Jack retorted. “God, you have the worst taste in men.”
John flashed him sardonic smile. “Well, I picked you up, didn’t I?”
“Did not. If I remember, it was me who picked you up.”
Gwen sighed loudly and, when that little hint didn’t work, she kicked John on the ankle. Hard.
“Ow! What was that for?” he demanded.
“You’re acting like a couple of children,” she said.
“But why kick me?”
Gwen gave Jack a kick as well, ignoring the indignation on his face. “Happy now? Now if you two can stop bickering for two minutes, we really need to get out of these damn restraints and go help Ianto.”
John shuffled a little and then lifted his arms, rubbing his wrists where the restraints had been. As Gwen stared in disbelief, Jack reached over to her to remove hers as well.
“How did you do that?”
Jack and John shared a smile and something in that look told her that she really didn’t want to know. A second later, the door was open and they peered out into the hallway, checking for their captor.
“Clear,” John announced, sauntering out despite Gwen’s hissed demand that he stay put. “You gotta admit,” he said to Jack. “We do make a good team.”
Reluctantly, Jack nodded, following John out into the hall. They headed for what John jokingly referred to as the Batcave, the central control room of the new Torchwood. From that one room, they had surveillance over the entire building, inside and out, and access to every computer system. It would be easier to track where Ianto had been taken from here than chasing them all over the building.
A few moments later, they heard footsteps and then Gwen caught them up. She didn’t look happy, Jack thought. When they got into the Batcave and locked the reinforced door, he found that his original assessment had been correct.
“I told you to wait,” she said, jabbing a finger at John’s chest as she reprimanded him. “One of these days, you’re going to get yourself, or one of us, killed by just wandering into things without bothering to think first.”
“The corridor was clear,” Jack pointed out calmly.
Gwen turned to him. “Yes, well, it was my call to make. You forget that you gave up your right to give the orders when you vanished for five sodding years.”
Jack held up his hands in surrender. “Fine. Whatever. You want the responsibility of making sure everyone is safe, of making all of the decisions, then it’s yours. Right now, however, I’m going to get Ianto back,” he told her. “So either start making some of these decision or stop bitching about it and let us get on with it.”
John looked between them and quietly sidled away, out of the firing line. He was a little surprised when Gwen nodded, backing down.
“OK,” she said, giving him a look that said quite clearly that they were going to discuss this later. “John, you’re the one who spent any time with this guy; who is he? What does he want?”
John smiled guiltily. “I didn’t really ask too many questions,” he said. “We weren’t exactly concerned with talking, ya’know?”
She raised a dark brow in disbelief. “You mean to tell me that you don’t even know this guy’s name and you brought him into Torchwood?”
“I know his name,” John retorted, then the bravado faltered slightly as he admitted, “It’s Loz.”
Jack grinned. “That’s it? Just ‘Loz’?”
“Oh, shut up!”
Gwen glared at the pair of them again. “Right, let’s forget the whole name thing, shall we? Why did you bring him into Torchwood?”
“Look, I just happened to mention where I worked and he asked if he could see the place,” John told her. “I never took him near anything classified, just the tourist route.”
He turned his attention back to the monitors on the wall. He’d been flipping through the feeds and had found the one showing where their uninvited guest and Ianto were. Both Jack and Gwen leaned in, watching.
“He’s heading for the medi-bay,” Gwen said, frowning. “What the hell is he looking for?”
“Maybe it’s who he’s looking for,” Jack mused.
Ianto walked obediently a few steps ahead of the loon with a gun pressed to his back.
“What exactly do you want?” he asked after a while. “What am I supposed to call you?”
“Call me Loz; that’s what John knows me as,” the man replied. “The rest, you don’t need to know.” When Ianto paused, he received another jab with the gun. “Keep moving or I pull the trigger.”
Ianto walked again. Thanks to Jack, he knew that the bullet wouldn’t kill him, at least not permanently. He had, however, seen Jack when he came back to life and it always looked as though it hurt like hell and he had no intention of experiencing that if he could help it. So far, he’d managed five years without either him or Jack dying; the deal that Jack had made was that, since their lifelines were now linked, if one of them died then so did the other. If Loz shot him now, Jack would feel it as well and he just couldn’t let that happen.
“I only want to end this as quick as possible and without anyone getting hurt,” Ianto told him. “If you tell me what you want, I can help you.”
For a long time there was silence and then Loz spoke.
“I’ve been hired to collect someone and return them to my employer,” he said. “I’m just doing my job.”
“Who?” Ianto asked. “And why?”
When Loz didn’t answer right away, Ianto thought that he’d pushed too far and that was the end of the co-operation. He had hoped to keep the man talking, or at least being civil, until the others rolled to the rescue. Oh, he was sure they’d come, it was just a matter of how long it took.
Loz paused, reaching into his pocket and taking out a small rectangular object. It looked like a mobile phone but when he pressed his thumb to it, a 3D hologramatic image appeared in the air above it. The image was of the new Torchwood medic, Adrian.
“What did he do?”
“He killed my employer’s brother.”
Ianto couldn’t believe that the medic had done any such thing. Admittedly, he hadn’t really had much of a chance to get to know Dr McAuley but this sounded a little far fetched.
Suddenly, Loz noticed movement in the medi-bay just ahead and he pushed Ianto forward again. When they entered the room, Adrian looked up and frowned.
“Ianto? Something wrong?” He looked to Loz and smiled. “I didn’t know we had guests.”
Of course he didn’t, Ianto thought. Gwen and the others wouldn’t have risked calling or paging to warn him and Lizzie, just in case it accidentally brought them to the attention of Loz. If she’d known he was after Adrian, however, she might have chanced it to get him out of the building.
“You, over there,” he told Adrian, shoving Ianto over to join him.
The doctor looked to Ianto. “What’s going on?”
Before Ianto could speak, Loz pressed another button on the handheld device, showing a hologram document, written in a language that Ianto and Adrian didn’t recognise.
“I have a deportation order for you,” he told Adrian. “You are charged with the assault and killing of Brixus-Pa’al of the Liegen Realm.”
Ianto frowned at him, ignoring the look of utter confusion on Adrian’s face. He moved himself in front of the doctor protectively; he’d been dealing with things such as this for a lot longer than the doctor and besides, no matter how much he wanted to avoid testing it, he was immortal. Unlike Adrian.
“Who are you?” he asked. “I don’t see a human being hired as a bounty hunter for the Leigen Realm.”
Loz frowned. “You’ve heard of us,” he said, sounding surprised. “I did not know that your Torchwood had contact with my people.”
Ianto smiled. “We spent three weeks on one of your trading vessels a few years ago whilst travelling.” He eyed Loz curiously. “That’s a good disguise; you really do look human.”
Loz shrugged his shoulders. “I have been on this planet for two years; I would not have survived so long if I still appeared Liegen.”
Adrian peered out from around Ianto. “Look, enough with the chit chat- I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t even know what the hell you are talking about.”
“One and a half years ago, you killed him,” Loz said. “You cannot deny the even took place- there is evidence.”
“Show me. Maybe I’ll actually know what the hell it is I’m supposed to have done.”
Another button on the handheld device and the picture flashed up of a red-skinned man with silver, cat-like eyes. Loz smiled.
“I see in your eyes that you remember him now.”
Adrian shook his head. “I do, but I didn’t kill him. He attacked five people in the hospital I used to work in. He was crazy! All I did was give him a sedative. Look, if you don’t believe me, ask Gwen or John. They got there just afterwards and they saw the people and they took him from the hospital. Go ahead, ask.”
Loz looked at the file he had again, frowning. There was no mention that this had been anything but a murder, no mention of self-defence. However, one of the traits of his race was the ability to ‘see’ lies. To his eyes, dishonesty radiated like a light blue aura around the person, and this doctor had no such colouring. He told them to sit, laying the gun on the table beside him, ready, should he need to use it.
“You will tell me what happened,” he demanded. “Do not leave any detail out.”
Adrian was still talking when Jack, Gwen and John burst into the medi-bay, guns blazing. Ianto had the feeling that Loz was no longer a threat to any of them, looking disturbed by the fact that his employer had left out some rather vital information about his bounty. From what he had said when Adrian told him the kind of sedative he’d used to incapacitate the attacker, it really wasn’t his fault. The sedative had caused an adverse reaction in the alien’s physiology, stopping his heart rather than sedating him. He had recorded Adrian’s testimony and now turned to face the new arrivals, not looking concerned with the guns in the slightest. In fact, he turned to them eagerly.
“John, I require corroboration regarding-”
He didn’t get any further before Gwen shot him with a stun-gun.
“You didn’t have to do that, you know,” Ianto told her. “We were doing fine.”
She nudged the now unconscious man on the floor, where he had slid off his chair after being stunned.
“So, he’s a bounty hunter,” she mused. They had listened at the monitors long enough to learn that piece of information, but had come running to the rescue before the explanations began.
Ianto nodded. “Soon to be an unemployed one. I don’t think he has any intention of taking Adrian back with him now he knows the truth,” he said. “And if the little I know about Liegen is correct, they don’t take failure of any kind too well. I should think that the next bounty hunter will be after him.”
“So what do we do with him?” Gwen wanted to know after Ianto filled them in on the details. “He’s an alien; we can’t just let him loose in Cardiff.”
“Dump him in a cell for the time being,” Jack suggested. “After that, well, keep him here. If he’s willing to work for us instead, he could be helpful. Liegen are damn resourceful and their bounty hunters are trained to be the best in the business.”
Gwen sighed, realising it would be better to have him working for them than loose on the streets if he was as good as Jack said he was. At least they knew he had some kind of moral code that he worked by, given that he was unwilling to hand Adrian over to his employer now that he knew that it was a mistake. And it might be handy to have someone else with alien knowledge on the team, just in case Jack, Ianto or John decided to go wandering off again.
She’d talk to him as soon as he woke up.