Fandom - Torchwood
Pairing - Jack / Ianto, John / Loz, Lizzie / Nicholas, Gwen / Rhys
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 spoilers.
Old Town New
Ch 8- Daddy’s girl
Lizzie’s fingers flew over the keyboard, tapping out seemingly random combinations as the messages on the screen flashed. Gwen and John watched, standing back after being told to ‘quit breathing down her neck’ a short time ago.
“How’s she doing?” Ianto enquired, wandering over to join them with a mug of coffee in hand.
John just shrugged his shoulders. “Can’t tell; it looks like gibberish to me.”
If Lizzie heard him, she didn’t acknowledge it, her eyes firmly fixed on the screen.
“Give her time,” Gwen told them. “She’s good.”
“Yes, but this is the bloody Ministry of Defence database she’s trying to hack into,” John pointed out. “They aren’t going to let her just waltz in and have a look around.”
Lizzie’s fingers stilled and she turned to him with a flourish. “You were saying?” she asked, unable to keep the smile from her face.
On the screen, the MoD logo showed, the password box underneath now reading ‘Access Granted’. Gwen let out a cheer and hurried over, flashing John a ‘told you so’ look on her way.
Gwen smiled broadly. “I told you, she’s a genius,” she said to John and Ianto, causing the young woman to blush.
Leaving her to continue, Gwen led the others away to another computer terminal where they could use the MoD database for the reason Lizzie had hacked it in the first place. Three days ago they had received reports of a UFO over Cardiff. Unfortunately, although the ship had been retrieved, the MoD had stalled them long enough that the occupant had vanished by the time they got there. As they were being unhelpful, Lizzie had offered to find out through less official channels. Reports had described a being, humanoid in shape with almost translucent skin and silver hair but as yet they had been unable to find a trail. It didn’t take them long to plant the fake orders that the craft be handed over to Torchwood, but finding the alien was still proving difficult.
Two hours later, Lizzie was still poking about in the MoD files. She hadn’t found anything particularly useful and should really have just left again, but her inquisitive nature wouldn’t let her just leave. There were so many interesting things in the files- more reported UFO encounters that she would have expected, even though they were merely filed and forgotten- and she couldn’t tear herself away.
This was how she had found herself working for Torchwood in the first place. Before this, she had been the editor of an online conspiracy magazine, and that had brought her into contact with Torchwood. At that time, they had still been rebuilding after the 456, and trying to keep a low profile, but Lizzie was nothing if not persistent. It had taken her a while, but she had gathered up files of information about them, each thing making her mind up a little more firmly; this was what she wanted to be doing.
One afternoon, after hours at her computer, she had managed to hack into the Torchwood computer system. She had been so surprised to actually manage it that she had no real plan for when she did. So, taking a chance, she had left her CV as the wallpaper on the monitors along with her job application.
The following morning, Gwen and John turned up at her door.
“Elizabeth Parker? I think we need to have a little chat, don’t you?”
From the questions- what had she seen in the files, who had she told, what did she intend to do with the information- Lizzie had thought that her plan had backfired. She had visions of spending the rest of her days in a jail cell, but Gwen and John had simply left without arresting her.
That night, Gwen had phoned and offered her a job.
There was no response and so Ianto touched her shoulder lightly, making her jump.
“Sorry,” he said, “But your date is here.”
Lizzie’s face flushed at Ianto’s words, and she turned to see Nicholas Harrington standing in the doorway, looking around uneasily.
“I apologise, Elizabeth,” he said. “I believe I am early; shall I return when you have finished?”
Lizzie shook her head. “I won’t be long,” she told him, “And would you please call me Lizzie? Only my father calls me Elizabeth.”
Nicholas frowned. “But Lizzie is too… familiar.” He saw the look on her face and reluctantly agreed. “As you wish. Lizzie.”
She smiled to herself as he came over to see what she was doing. Damn, he’s gorgeous, she thought to herself. He was the stereotypical tall, dark, handsome man; in fact, if not for the fact he was a werewolf, and from 1889, he would be the perfect man.
The more she thought about it, however, the werewolf aspect really didn’t bother her as much as it probably should; working around aliens and immortals and the craziness of daily life at Torchwood had seen to that.
Nicholas had adapted well to this new life, accepting their help to fit in. He looked every bit the modern man, with his stylish clothes and hair, but when he spoke it was easy to picture him in 1880’s period costume. Some aspects of this time period still had not sunk in, however. He was still not comfortable in calling Lizzie anything but Elizabeth, saying that nicknames were too familiar, and it had taken him a while to get used to Jack and Ianto or John and Loz’s relationships. Not that he was homophobic, but the fact that they were so open and public about it had caused him some surprise.
He had come in a week ago for the first full moon after his arrival, hesitant. For years, he had lived in fear, hating the wolf that he became as the full moon rose. Even now, he was afraid that he would hurt someone when the change overtook him but Lizzie had assured him that nothing could get out of their cells if they didn’t want it to. So, Nicholas had spent the night in an adapted cell, one which was more comfortable than the others, spending the first and last twenty minutes as a human, and the rest as a huge black wolf.
“That is the first time since this curse began that I have been able to relax,” he told them afterwards. “Usually I worry about what I have done, whether I hurt anyone whilst I was the wolf.”
Lizzie shut down her computer and made sure to cover her tracks out of the MoD’s system. She had just made it to the door, putting her coat on as she went, when Gwen’s phone rang.
“Lizzie, wait. I’m afraid your plans are going to have to wait a little longer,” she said. “That was DI Newsome; it sounds as though they’ve found our missing alien.”
Lizzie climbed out of the car, hurrying to catch up with Gwen, Jack and John. She didn’t often accompany them out into the field, but from what the police had said, the more people here, the better. She felt a little guilty at having to abandon Nicholas, but he had assured her that he understood, waiting at Torchwood with Adrian for their return.
Following the police officer who was waiting for them in the car park, they made their way to the members’ lounge of the exclusive golf club. The creature had been seen reported by one of the golfers as some ‘long-haired freak’ who was stalking around the building. When the officer had caught a glimpse of the being, he had immediately called his superiors, who called Torchwood. There had been a time when Torchwood was barely more than a rumour, sweeping in and taking care of the problem under a veil of secrecy. Not any more. People had seen too much over the past few years and Torchwood had gained recognition whether it was wanted or not. Now it was the police who called them in, as they would a forensics team or any other specialist consultants.
“We’re not sure what it is,” the young officer was telling Gwen, “but we didn’t want to get too close. David- PC Markham, I mean- tried and the thing did something. I don’t know what it was; it was like it caused an electric shock. That’s why we called you; it looked like something you lot would know what to do with.”
“Gee, thanks,” Gwen muttered.
They all made their way closer, John and Lizzie holding back whilst Jack and Gwen tried to get close enough to see what it was doing. It was hiding in the kitchens of the club’s restaurant, the occasional crash from utensils hitting the floor letting them know that it was moving about. Eventually, after having got a look from the doorway, Gwen signalled them over.
“There’s another door on the left side of the building, going out to the course,” she told them. “Go there. I don’t expect it will come that way but just in case, I want you waiting. And make sure you keep the people out of the way too. I can just imagine the lawsuit if one of them got injured.”
Jack took a gun from the shoulder holster he wore under his coat, Gwen arming herself also, and looked the two of them over quickly. “Are you carrying, Lizzie?” When she shook her head, Jack took a small, odd-shaped handgun from his pocket and passed it to her. “Take it, just in case.”
Lizzie eyed the gun with dismay. She had done the mandatory firearms training and had passed with flying colours, but that didn’t mean she was comfortable with the gun in her hand. Nevertheless, she took it, checked the settings to make sure it was set to disarm only, and nodded.
They separated, the pair of them heading around the outside of the building to their post. Outside, a small gathering of onlookers waited, being held away by the police, most of them middle aged men in expensive clothes and smoking expensive cigars, grumbling about having been asked to leave their comfortable chairs and glasses of brandy.
It took them nearly half an hour to secure the creature, finally having to shoot it with a stun-shot from John’s gun. The being had ignored any attempts to communicate, resorting to throwing some kind of energy bolts at them whenever they got close. With the exception of a few singed chairs in dining room, everyone had come away unscathed and they loaded the unconscious alien onto a stretcher and into the van.
Lizzie stopped dead, thinking she had heard wrong. It couldn’t be…
John watched curiously as the Lizzie he knew morphed into the Elizabeth that her father knew. Gone was the happy smile and bright confidence, replaced by bristling anger, yet John saw the hope in her face.
Her father eyed her with evident disapproval, his gaze finally reaching the gun she held in her hand.
“Is this your doing? Causing all of this fuss and making us stand out here in the cold.”
Lizzie frowned. “It was the police who made you leave, and it was for your own safety.”
“Safety?” He let out a laugh. “What from? It’s just some stupid, layabout kid messing about.”
“The thing,” she said, pointing to the stretcher being loaded into the van, “isn’t some kid. It’s dangerous.”
Her father rolled his eyes. “’Thing’, Elizabeth? Not this again. You always did have an imagination on you, girl, and now you’ve got those Torchwood people feeding you all that crap about aliens and whatnot. Yes, I know all about what they supposedly do; bunch of hooey if you ask me.” He paused, considering her and then shaking his head. “First that ridiculous, so-called ‘magazine’ and now this. When are you going to stop this foolishness and start acting properly? You were a bright girl; you could have been anything you wanted. A doctor, or a barrister like your cousin Jennifer. She’s getting married next month, you know.”
Lizzie had heard this so many times before, so why did she let him get to her each time? It wasn’t so much the words as the tone he used, sounding as though she was the biggest disappointment in the world.
“You have no idea what you’re talking about,” she told him, letting her anger take over as it usually did whenever they had these little chats. “It isn’t all rubbish, daddy. What we investigate is real, even if you’d rather stick your head in the sand and ignore that fact.”
Her father’s eyes narrowed. “I will not be spoken to like that, Elizabeth,” he warned.
“Lizzie, we need to get moving,” John pointed out softly from beside her, noticing that Gwen was ready to leave. Lizzie nodded.
“Elizabeth! I’m talking to you.”
Lizzie turned her back on him. “Not now, daddy, please.” She had barely gone two steps before she relented and looked back. “We’re going out tonight, just for a few drinks. Maybe you’d like to join us?”
Lizzie sat in the passenger seat of the car, staring silently out of the window as they drove back to Torchwood. Jack and Gwen had taken the van containing the alien, leaving John with the car. On any normal day, she would have argued about him driving, usually on the basis that John tended to ignore any general traffic rules- such as speed limits- that he didn’t like, but today she said nothing.
“Are you alright?” he asked, as he took a corner on with a squeal of tyres and a flurry of horns honking from the other drivers around them.
She sighed. “I’m OK. I really don’t know why I let him get to me. He’s just so... so infuriating!”
“Just once, I would like him to say he was proud of me,” she continued. “Mum never objected to whatever I wanted to do; she said she just wanted me to be happy. But daddy? He just couldn’t understand that I wasn’t cut out to be a lawyer. I went to law school, you know? I lasted for a whole year before I finally quit. God, I hated every minute of it. I think he saw the magazine as a rebellion, one he hoped I’d grow out of, but I love my job. I just wish he could understand that.”
Later that evening, when she had all but given up on the idea of her father turning up, John nudged her and indicated to the door. Lizzie waved him over to their table.
“I’m glad you came.”
Her father didn’t say anything, merely summoned a waitress over and ordered a scotch on the rocks.
“Daddy, these are my colleagues,” she tried again. “This is Gwen, John, Loz, Adrian and Ianto.”
There was an uncomfortable silence as neither father nor daughter really knew what to say to each other. Eventually, Gwen began telling him about the funny thing that Isabella had done earlier that day. He even joined in after a while, asking questions and even being polite to the others. Or at least he was until Jack arrived, Nicholas following behind. When Jack leaned down to press a hello-kiss to Ianto’s lips, she saw her father’s eyes narrow.
“Don’t. Please,” she said in a low voice.
Before he had a chance to say anything, however, Jack continued. “Look who I found waiting outside,” he said to Lizzie, ushering Nicholas past him to sit down and then heading toward the bar for drinks.
Lizzie was surprised at how well the evening went. It was the first time that she and her father had actually managed to sit together and not rehash the same old arguments. He had actually listened when she talked about her job, believing her. He still wasn’t happy about her chosen profession, not by a long shot, but there hadn’t been any raised voices this time.
He did, however, take the time to take Nicholas aside as they all left. She was unable to hear what he said but, from the look on Nicholas’s face, she could guess.
“Daddy, what did you say to him?”
Her father shook his head dismissively. “Just a little man to man chat, that’s all. If he wishes to date my daughter…”
“I can’t believe this! You promised that you wouldn’t do that again,” she reminded him. “And who said anything about us dating?”
He sighed. “Please, Elizabeth. We may not see eye to eye but I know you, and I saw the way you looked at him.”
“You can’t keep trying to run my life for me. I like my life here and who I choose to date is none-”
“Elizabeth, if you would allow me to finish,” he interjected, looking slightly offended. “I was going to say that he seems like a nice young man. Very respectful.”
I wonder what you’d say if you knew he was a werewolf, she thought, wisely keeping that part unspoken. They had actually been getting along and she had no wish to cause a fight now.
“He is,” she told her father. “I’m really glad you came here tonight.”
Her father looked around at the others, gathered nearby; just far enough away to give them privacy yet close enough to listen in discreetly.
“I cannot say that I approve of you working there, but I can see that I am not going to change your mind.” He climbed into the taxi that was waiting at the kerb, leaning back out to add, “Your mother is expecting you to be at dinner on Sunday. Don’t be late.”
As the taxi drove away, Lizzie smiled. He may not approve, but at least he was acknowledging that she was part of the family again; she guessed that Torchwood was a step up from the magazine in his eyes. He was never going to stop badgering her about it, but they had managed to talk today without resorting to yelling. It was a start.
Not that it would make any difference, however, as she loved her job. Today, she had had hacked into the MoD and helped capture an alien.
She wondered if cousin Jennifer-the-barrister could beat that.
“Not a chance,” she murmured, going back to join her friends.